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What's in a Name? How to Protect Your Brand From Domain 'Cybersquatting'

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Websites are a vital business tool, but how do you protect your online brand from unscrupulous cyber squatters, looking to make money?

Cybersquatting usually involves a party registering a domain name, often in bad faith, to gain a commercial advantage - such as selling the domain name or using it as a link to their own website to divert customers.

Although domain name registration is a relatively straightforward process, it can cause a problem for your business if not done properly. The following tips can help you to avoid some of the potential problems.

  • There is no automatic right to a domain name - they are available on a first come first served basis.
  • Check out your preferred domain names as soon as possible if you have a new business or product.
  • If a third party has registered your favoured domain name, there may be little you can do to force them to transfer ownership to you.
  • Keep a note of the date registration lapses for any domain names you would like. If the current owner does not renew it, you may be able to purchase it.
  • Don’t allow your registered domain names to lapse.
  • Consider buying variations of your preferred domain name and if you trading in overseas’ markets consider purchasing domain registrations in those countries.
  • Actively monitor domain name activity in order to protect your position.
  • Do not register competitors or third party brands as a domain name. Courts have consistently found in favour of brand owners in such cases of cybersquatting. 

If you do encounter a domain name problem, you might consider using a dispute resolution service. However, the powers of the dispute resolution service are generally limited to a transfer of the domain name and, unlike a court; the service cannot make any order for costs or damages.

To find out more about how we can help you to protect your online brand please contact Giles Searby  on  0114 2521423 or email him at gilessearby@hlwkeeblehawson.co.uk.

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