Cybersquatting – what is domain piracy and how to effectively fight it?

Cybersquatting – what is domain piracy and how to effectively fight it?

The new technologies development has plenty of benefits for many users, but as it turns out, not everyone uses them as they should. We are talking about cyber pirates, who, as part of cybersquatting, register Internet domains using an existing company name. The number of domain disputes is increasing every year. How to effectively fight cybersquatting and protect your domain from cybercriminals?

A brief history of cybersquatting

Probably no one will be surprised by the information that the first instance took place in the United States. The 1990s in the USA were called the Internet gold rush because at that time Americans were rapidly establishing online stores. The dynamic development of e-commerce has led to the creation of an ideal environment for cybercriminals who want to earn money from illegal activities on the Internet. In the 90s it was recognized that one of the key factors influencing the company’s popularity on the Internet was the domain name.

Cybersquatting in practice

As mentioned before, cybersquatting is about registering web addresses using names that sound like registered trademarks. Cyber pirates very often use unregistered trademarks during registration, which significantly extends their scope of activity. Of course, trademarks with a good reputation are most often chosen – the more popular trademark, the greater the chance of profit. The fight for the domain is nothing surprising at the moment. It has been known for a long time that websites are an element of building a strong brand.

Registering a trademark protects against cybersquatting

There are effective solutions to protect against the illegal activities of cyber pirates. Lawyers recommend registering the domain name as a trademark. The website owner can feel safer because he is given a domain. Thus, he will be able to request the removal of a domain created as part of cybersquatting.

However, domain owners should be vigilant, as registering a trademark does not fully solve the problem. In the light of the law, a registered trademark does not protect a domain when another company with the same name conducts activities of a different nature.

This is a global problem that has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic

All the data show that cybersquatting is a practice that occurs all over the world. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is responsible for analyzing and examining cases concerning piracy of domains. A number of cyber-piracy cases were recorded in 2018, but the result was quickly beaten. From January to October 2020, WIPO received 3,405 cases, an 11% increase compared to the same period in 2019. Experts explain this with the coronavirus pandemic, during which many companies have stepped up their online activities. The data show that the most common victims of attacks are domains from sectors such as banking and finance (12%), biotechnology and pharmacy (11%), the Internet and information technologies (11%) and fashion (8%). However, it should be remembered that any domain may become a victim of cybersquatting, regardless of the type and nature of the business.

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