Cybersquatting Cases On The Rise, And Will Only Get Worse

from the get-with-the-system dept

2008 saw the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization handle more cybersquatting cases than ever before -- 2,329. Michael Geist makes the case that things aren't as bad on this front as they might seem, but the head of WIPO says the issue will only get worse as ICANN prepares to throw open the top-level domain system, which will undoubtedly lead to even more disputes. For instance, something like ".apple" will certainly be a magnet for disputes. Who should get to claim it? Apple Computer, Apple Corps, a trade group of apple farmers, or somebody else with a legitimate tie to the word apple? ICANN's plans to throw things open on the TLD front could be better than it getting to determine which TLDs people can use, but it certainly looks like it's going to come at the cost of a ridiculous amount of arguments over who gets to own specific TLDs. It's easy to say that ICANN and WIPO should try to get out ahead of the issue, and for what it's worth, the WIPO exec says they're working to create "pre- and post-delegation procedures". But it's hard to imagine that they're going to be able to really do much to limit the number of disputes when the new TLDs open up, given how many parties could have legitimate claims to the same ones.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Weird Harold, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 6:33pm

    Opening the top level to .anythingyouwant is going to create the biggest mess ever. ICANN gave into the the greedy and the stupid.

     

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  2.  
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    Ima Fish, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 6:34pm

    I don't know why you guys are using the derogatory term cybersquatting. What's wrong with finding an opportunity, investing it in first, and then reaping the rewards of your investment? If I buy a great piece of land, should someone else be able to take it away without paying me what I want? I don't see how obtaining a unique and valuable URL is any different.

    And the sole reason there are laws against "cybersquatting" is to make it easier for the big guys to take valuable URLs away from the little guy. Why should the rich pay a fair market value when they can simply have laws created that will force the initial investor to turn over his investment without receiving a dime?

     

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  3.  
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    Jesse, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 7:10pm

    I agree with Ima Fish. You guys generally spout basic economic principles, and please do correct me if I'm wrong, but this seems like basic economics.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    I believe the producers of the food apple should have the domain .apple - as much as I like the company, the food is just so much more important.

     

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  5.  
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    Biggie, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    brand theft

    I hjave to disagree, stealing a brand name. trademark etc. "staking claim" to someone elses brand through squatting on a URL is like all those patents out there people shelf in case someone might want it later. Just slows growth and inovation... ? Now thats Derogatory!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 7:18pm

    Do we really need domain names?

    With all these search engines and wonder bars, do we really need to fight over domains????

    I cannot understand why companies pay so much money to buy their favorite domain names. Waste of money if you ask me.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2009 @ 10:43pm

    .anonymouscoward is mine, Tech Dirt. Don't even think about it.

     

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  8.  
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    Azrael, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 2:11am

    Re:

    Because with the same reasoning i could just wait outside your house 'till you live to work, declare that house abandoned (you don't live in it after all at that moment) and take for myself.

     

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  9.  
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    R. Miles, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 3:45am

    Parking != Unethical

    Internet users are stupid. It's going to take another 20 years before they're not so stupid.

    People expect www.walmart.com to point to the Walmart site. If it doesn't, they get upset as they now have to take another step to find the official site.

    Those who park domains are looking at an investment. I know some will scream unethical, but it's not. Most large companies have, of course, purchased all viable domains.

    But a small company (having a unique name) has two options:
    1) They can buy the parked domain, marked up of course.
    2) They can innovate, and create their own.

    So, Biggie, this shouldn't stop innovation at all. If a business chooses to cave and pay the ransom, their fault. Nothing stops them from innovating a new name.

    As for these new TLDs, screw them. All it's going to do is cause huge mess for both business and stupid internet users.

    Businesses shouldn't have to pay for these TLDs to protect their business from scam artists looking to take advantage of these stupid people.

    Seriously, how many emails do people get a day requesting your secure information because the site was recently updated?

    If Berners-Lee was just recently scammed, imagine the open door these new TLDs will present.

    Such idiocy.

     

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  10.  
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    Easily Amused, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 7:19am

    a little off-topic, but...

    every time I see something about the World Intellectual Property Organization, I can't help pronounce it wipe-o... as in, El Asso WIPO...

     

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  11.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    Except that this is economics of the "Black Friday Sale at Wal-mart, line up now, try not to get trampled" variety.

    In addition, this is also the "I'm grabbing every deal I can regardless of whether I can actually use the thing myself, simply because I know there are others (just behind me in line) who want it too".

    This is closer to the problems of the Patent System (a regulated monopoly first-to-file-papers system) rather than a Free Market system (everyone can compete).

     

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  12.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:12am

    Re: brand theft

    Except that it's not as clear cut as that. There are non-brand name issues involved as well such as generic names (pets, windows, rent, food, etc.).

    Buying up a domain for the sole purpose of marking up its price and reselling doesn't seem like a huge problem on its face ("free market"). But real cybersquatters are sitting on tens-of- or hundreds-of-thousands of domains. They make it impossible for anyone to get access to a domain at the price established by those placed in charge of giving out those names.

    It would be like the government selling everyones drivers licenses to scalpers. People would have a problem with that, wouldn't they?

     

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  13.  
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    mobiGeek, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:15am

    Re: Do we really need domain names?

    It is an interesting question. I really wonder how much of the 'net population actually type URLs (or just domain names) into their address bar.

    I know a number of "older" folks in my circles who simply type what they want into "that box" on their homepage, whether it be Google, MSN, Yahoo, their ISP, whatever. When I explain about the address bar, they ask if there's a way to turn it off because they never use it.

     

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  14.  
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    my two year old, Mar 19th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    everyone knows that...

    .apple should obviously go to Apple Computers. Cause unlike the crunchy food apple, Apple Computers makes computers, which, you know, use the internet. So it's more important to them. Duh!

     

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  15.  
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    Antony Van Couvering, Mar 21st, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    Economical with the truth

    WIPO, a U.N. agency, is not being very liberal with the truth. The other UDRP provider, NAF, reported a drop in cases, and since WIPO reliably rules for complainant, everyone is moving over there -- so of course their numbers went up.

    But even with this increase, WIPO's numbers relative to the total number of domain names are going down, and they have been going down since the UDRP was invented.

    For complete numbers, see my blog post at http://www.mindsandmachines.com/2009/03/wipo-cybersquatting-report-ignores-real-udrp-trends/

     

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  16.  
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    Nathan, Mar 30th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    are these "laws" global

    first let me state my position... I believe the activty described as cybersquatting is a POTENTIAL investment opportunity..

    Do these "laws" and ICANN "rulings" or US State whims, apply globally and to all domain extensions ?
    Are subjects of European countries potentially at risk of the US big stick ?

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    But it's hard to imagine that they're going to be able to really do much to limit the number of disputes when the new TLDs open up, given how many parties could have legitimate claims to the same ones. http://enzytexposed.com/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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