What is Cybersquatting and What Can Be Done about It?

This article explains what Cybersquatting is and how you, as a business owner, can fight back if you are faced with a cybersquatter.

Cybersquatting, also known as domain squatting is the process of registering, trafficking and using others domain name with the bad faith of making a profit to yourself from the goodwill of a reputed trademark that belongs to someone else.

It affects the trademark of the registered company and to overcome this problem, the person whom the trademark belongs needs to purchase it at an inflated price from the cybersquatter.

The cybersquatter occupies the unoccupied space that is not the sole property of squatter and not have permission to use it. Many cybersquatters target the mistyped spellings of popular or reputed website.

Sometimes, when you order something and make a payment online, the page refreshes and everything vanishes and then you again fill the payment details and end up ordering twice.

Many registry companies work on this problem. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) licenses the domain name registrars and is continuously working on resolving the issue of domain name disagreement and against cybersquatters.

Origin of Practice of Cyber Squatting

Cybersquatting came into practice when most of the popular businesses did not have the practical knowledge about the commercial profits and opportunity on the Internet and social media. Many companies like LG, Panasonic, Avon and Samsung were the victims of squatters.

Detecting Cyber Squatting

When you click the domain name and if it takes you to the designated website, then it is all right and if it is not redirecting to the website, unless it gives a message ‘under construction’ or ‘cannot find server, then you are dealing with a cybersquatter and you will not get redirected to the functional page.

If you are visiting a page of a reputed company like Amazon or Snap Deal and you are getting pop-ups of hero motorbikes or any other product that is not sold by that website, then the website is under cybersquatter.

Dealing with Cyber Squatter

When you think that the website is under squatter, don’t draw any conclusion by yourself, instead Follow these steps:

  • Contact the domain name registrant. If you are unable to find the name and address of the owner of a domain name, you can use the website ‘whois.net’ which is ‘WHOIS LOOKUP’. Here, you can find the details for the domain name
  • If the cybersquatter is asking you to pay, remember sometimes paying is the right choice, it might be cheaper also consumes less time.
  • There is one more probability that you can take legal action against a cybersquatter

Taking Action against cybersquatting in India

Unlike other countries, India has as of now no specific laws against cybersquatting, but victims do have several means to fight cybersquatters like:

  • An organization that works against squatting is World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and has provided a right to trademark holder to attempt claim to a squatted site. India is one among the 171 members of WIPO. In 2005, 1367 complaints filed with WIPO, which had increased to 1823 in 2006. It was found that the majority of problems that were lodged got resolved and claims were given to the complaining party.
  • A case could be filed by the victim with the .in registry dealt by National Internet Exchange of India (NiXI), this registry takes steps to give compensation to victim companies and further discourages the squatters from stealing domains.

As the owner of business, it becomes your duty to take proper legal actions if in any case you are confronted by cybersquatting. From choosing the business’s name to registering your trademark, it’s all your effort and it is your responsibility to be defend your business exercising all the means at your disposal.

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