Intellectual property rights in the world of domain names can often be a minefield, especially when it comes to proving that a particular domain has been targeted for the purposes of cybersquatting.
Cybersquatting is a term in the industry that refers to a domain name that has been registered by an individual in an attempt to piggyback on brands that may have a high volume of traffic or interest.
Claims against cybersquatters are rising, and some of the world’s leading brands have taken action against those whose domain name ‘rips off’ their trademark.
Take-Two Interactive Software, who created the hugely popular Grand Theft Auto video game series, recently took action against a domain name holder claiming that their ownership violated intellectual property rights. The domain in question, GTA.tv could be construed as the recognised abbreviation of the game’s title, and Take-Two believe that they should hold the rights to this particular suffix variation.
This isn’t the first time that the software owners have made claims against cybersquatting activity, however previous attempts to use UDRP to get domain names have all been instances of blatant misuse, i.e. cybersquatters deliberately registering versions of that brand in a hope to mislead users. In this case, a lack of available evidence of deception could mean a more difficult pursuit of ownership for Take-Two.
In January, Domaincheck shared a link from popular domain news network www.domainnamewire.com, who reported that global fashion mogul Chanel had pursued an aggressive campaign against cybersquatters acting in the intention to promote counterfeit or ‘fake’ version of Chanel’s products. Chanel not only engaged in the retrieval of domain names, but further discouraged squat-like behaviour in a number of messages that featured as a holding page for the newly acquired URLs.
With all of the lawsuits surrounding domain name ownership, business owners are becoming more wary of the visibility of their brand online, and how registering a single domain name to control their online portfolio may not be enough.
Domaincheck, as one of the UK’s leading domain name registration companies, and founding member of the .uk controller Nominet, are advising business owners as to how to counteract the cybersquatting of their brand by others.