Domain names disputes and cyber squatting

Domain names are a vital business commodity and a valuable source of intellectual property. However, since anyone can register a domain name as long as it has not already been taken (usually on a first come first served basis) businesses should be alive to cybersquatting, a practice that according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is said to be booming.

Cybersquatting is the act of registering a domain name for the purpose of either reselling it for a profit or as a means of securing advertising revenue from consumer interest online. Increasingly, this practice has developed a speculative element with domain names being snapped up in anticipation of, for example, the rebranding of a business or the launch of a new product. The speed with which new domain names can be registered only serves to compound the problem.

The motives of the cybersquatter are not always immediately apparent. Some are speculators who hope to sell the domain name to its rightful owner, usually for an inflated price. Others attempt to exploit the domain name in other ways such as by generating revenue for advertisement or commission value, based usually upon the amount of traffic generated…

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