Domain squatting is also called ‘Cybersquatting’. It is essentially when a person registers and / or uses a popular internet address with the sole intention of selling to the individual or company that actually owns the brand. It frequently includes a brand or a company name and is often associated with the retail industry and celebrities.
There was a two percent growth rate in the number of domain name cases that were filed between 2013 and 2014. The reason the worrying trend is growing is because ICANN, the organisation that controls top-level domain names, decided to expand the number of generic top-level domains (GTLDs) since 2011.
An example of a GTLD is the .com prefix. Over five hundred and forty-eight new GTLDs were accepted by March 2015, but over four hundred and seventy-four were withdrawn. Trademark owners lodged more than two thousand, six hundred cases concerning over five thousand, five hundred domain names in 2014. In fact, since 1990, more than thirty thousand cybersquatting complaints have been made to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The WIPO has the power to transfer the domain names to their rightful owners.
The US was the country that filed the most domain name cases in 2014 at eight hundred and forty-nine. France and the UK are second and third respectively. The retail industry filed the most cases in 2014 at thirteen percent, followed closely by the banking and finance industry and the fashion industry. The most active ant-cybersquatting company is US based tobacco giant Philip Morris, followed by Banco Bradesco, one of the largest banking and financial services companies in Brazil and Swarovski, the Austrian producer of luxury cut lead glass.
Have a look at this infographic created by Irish Apps, for more information.