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Decoding Cybersquatting

Posted By Admin on 08 Feb 2016

The U.S. Federal Law, also known as the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, has defined Cybersquatting as an act of registering or using a domain name of a well-known brand with the intent of profiting from their goodwill. This practice incorporates the misuse of trademarks in which the registrant has no lawful interest or connection. This word is an amalgamation of two different words- ‘Cyber’, which means computer and ‘squatting’ which is an act of illegitimately inhabiting/holding someone else’s property.

The first few victims of domain squatting were Avon, Panasonic and Hertz. With mandatory online presence, the companies have started pinning down domain names on a priority basis.

Cybersquatting cases on rise
While the US tops the list of countries that have filed the maximum cases of cybersquatting with 847 complaints, it was Hugo Boss- a German Luxury Fashion brand- which filed the highest number of domain squatting cases in the year 2015. Last year, India had filed 59 such complaints with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), registering an astonishing increase of nearly 60 percent in the number of such complaints.

Bharti Airtel, Voltas, Tata Sons, Wipro, Aircel and Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation are a few popular names that dealt with the incidence of cybersquatting in 2015. Every sector, namely, telecommunications, banking, automotive, e-commerce, fashion, hospitality, pharmaceuticals among others have been targeted by cyber squatters.
One must take into notice that registering a domain name is cheaper than registering a trademark and secondly, with the inestimable space of the virtual world, cybersquatting is on rise. The cybersquatting complaints are dealt under the Uniform Domain-Name-Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), proposed in 1999 by WIPO.

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