Domain Name Disputes on the Rise

November 24, 2011 by  Filed under: Domain 

More people are attempting to make money off of the mistakes people make when typing in a well-known domain name, according to new findings from the National Arbitration Forum.

People often invert letters or add an additional letter when trying to access a popular website, typing in goggle.com instead of Google.com These misspelled site names are available for registration as separate domains if the intended website has not already obtained the rights to them. Google alone has spawned several of these misspelled sites, known as ‘cybersquatters.’

Cybersquatting is a lucrative business. Advertisers are eager to post ads on these pages due to the large number of people that mistakenly see them. This generates large advertising revenue for cybersquatter domain owners.

Yet this practice is considered illegal if the misspelled site name attempts to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.

Disputes over domain names can be resolved within the industry by the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy process from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Domain disputes involving trademark infringement can also be disputed in standard courts or through arbitration.

Alternative dispute resolution service provider National Arbitration Forum oversaw a total of 1,805 domain name disputes in 2007, up from 1,658 in 2006. Cases filed with the FORUM are heard and decided by independent, neutral panelists who have specialized domain name, trademark, copyright and/or e-commerce experience. Panelists are located around the world and can conduct proceedings in several languages.

In a summary of their findings from 2007, the National Arbitration Forum found that there have been 9,916 domain name complaints since 1999. Of these filings, panelists heard 8,006 cases, with the remainder being settled by the individual parties.

“Disney”, “Hershey’s Kisses”, “Webkinz” and “Univision” are a few of the famous trademarks involved in notable decisions in 2007. Cybersquatters are forcing popular websites such as these to be more diligent with their trademark monitoring.

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