Cybersquatters

Watch out, cybersquatters about: Don’t become another victim!

Is your business at risk from cybersquatters? Have you been a victim of cybersquatters already, has your domain URL been stolen? If you have, Heald can help you and your business and this article will tell you how.

With the ever increasing power of the European Union, many UK businesses are looking to their European neighbours to do business with. One important way of winning new business on the continent is through the registration of a .eu domain.

British business have so far been much slower than their European counterparts in applying for a .eu domain name, meaning that many now stand to lose out to cybersquatters with no genuine claim to the web address. Approximately 1.5% of British businesses had registered a .eu domain name at the end of the initial registration period which expired in 2006. These figures represent an awful lot of UK businesses who have not registered. Are you one of them?

Why should this represent a problem?

Well, now that the initial registration period is over, any owner of a .eu domain name need not demonstrate any prior interest in a name. These registered domain names are simply used by cybersquatters to attract web traffic and profit from advertising. This represents rich pickings to cybersquatters and can mean the domain name your company wants is unavailable. Have you checked if your company name is being used in this way?

In order to combat cybersquatters, the European Registry for Internet Domains (EURid) was selected as the .eu registry in May 2003, and was entrusted with the organisation, administration and management of the .eu domain.

I want to recover a .eu domain name. What can I do?

Any business can bring an action against a cybersquatter and the preferred format is via Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). In reality, this will mean the appointment of 1-3 panelists rather than going through expensive Court proceedings.

At Heald, we have specialists who can guide you through this process. We have the expertise to handle your claim leaving you free to concentrate on what is most important, that is, your business. The recovery of a .eu domain name can be very procedural. By understanding the regulations that govern these disputes, we can explain clearly on your behalf the reasons why you have a “legitimate interest” in the domain name, and why the cybersquatter has registered his interest in “bad faith”.

We can steer you through this administrative maze. Our expertise in this area means we understand the system and what is required to succeed. It also ensures a cost effective service for you.

After the complaint is filed, a block is put on the domain name preventing transfer for the duration of the proceedings. The cybersquatters case is set out in his response, which must be filed within 30 working days of the date of receipt of the complaint. If no response is received, the panelist(s) is allowed to consider this as a ground to accept the complainant’s arguments. The complaint is then fully considered by the panelists and a decision is made.

I’ve won, now what?

If successful, the domain name is taken away from the cybersquatter and transferred to you so that you can focus on developing your business.

Conclusion

Watch out, cybersquatters are about and many are attacking UK businesses through the registration of .eu domain names. The worrying aspect of all this is that the majority of these businesses do not even know about it! Are you at risk?

For a free, no-obligation discussion about any of the issues discussed in this article, please contact Tom Silverwood-Cope on 01908 662277.

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