Protect your associated domain names – now

Your domain name is a core part of your intellectual property and one of the most important elements of your business’ reputation.

 

The importance of protecting your business and domain names is clear – but have you thought about making moves to protect names that could be associated with your primary name?

 

Some new research got me thinking about it – and about the problem of cybersquatting.

 

You’ve probably heard of it – it’s a form of identity fraud in which people register, sell or use a domain name linked to a brand, with the intent of profiting from it.

 

Let’s say you’ve a domain name called bouncycastlesshop.net – a cybersquatter might register an associated name, such as bouncycastelesshop.biz, and try and get some cash out of you for it.

 

According to legal information provider Sweet & Maxwell, domain name disputes adjudicated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation hit 2,944 in the 12 months to July 2012, a six per cent increase from 2,775 in July 2011.

 

There is a big problem with cybersquatting in China, where domain names associated with well-known brands are registered with the intention of selling counterfeit goods or demanding money from the brand owner before relinquishing ownership.

 

But cybersquatting isn’t just limited to big companies – it can happen to any, big or small.

 

So what can you do? One effective way to ensure you don’t get ‘cybersquatted’ is to implement a formal strategy for managing your domain name registrations.

 

Keep two steps ahead of the squatters by ensuring you re-register your domain name before it expires – so they don’t have chance to snap it up.

 

It makes lots of sense. It could hurt you in the long run.