A service which allows law firms to trace owners of internet website addresses and sue them was launched this week.
City firms Dibb Lupton Alsop and Ashurst Morris Crisp are among the 23 clients which have already signed up to take advantage of the new deal.
The service enables solicitors to track down the owners of particular domain names on behalf of their clients who want to use those addresses.
Lawyer Simon Deane Johns, an associate in Dibbs' information technology division, says: “We advise on a lot of website development agreements and it is quite common for domain names to become the subject of disputes.
“This service puts us in a good position to advise clients from the outset, and then continue advising if the name already exists and litigation is necessary.”
The practice of registering rivals' domain names is known as “cybersquatting”. Squatters can sell the web addresses for vast sums of money.
In cases where third parties register domain names for commercial gain, it is now often possible to recover the name through litigation.
The new search service has been launched by the Internet Domain Registrations (IDR), which can be found at (http:// www.idr.co.uk).
Lawyers can complete a domain name search and registration on behalf of their clients, with billing either direct to the client or via the user.
Go Interactive (http:// www.accesstolaw.com) says that it has updated its own existing services and offers similar facilities to those offered by IDR.