British businesses fall victim to ‘cybersquatters’ amid domain name rollout

An article called “British businesses fall victim to ‘cybersquatters’ amid domain name rollout” was posted on telegraph.co.uk.

Although the article has some useful information it seems that on a few points it’s a bit off. It seems that the writer implies that cybersquatting has already happened in the new gTLDs but presents no data for the new gTLDs that are already available. Instead she concentrates on new gTLDs that won’t be out for many months from now.

“This week sees the rollout of hundreds of new generic top-level domain name suffixes, from شبكة. – pronounced dot-shabaka (.web in Arabic) – to .sexy, .technology and .singles.”

The new gTLDs .sexy and .technology are not yet available.

“However, new research reveals that some of the UK’s biggest companies are failing to protect their intellectual property, with many domain names relating to British brands already being bought up by third parties.

For example, one of the most highly anticipated new extensions is .web, but 80 per cent of the .web domain names relating to the UK’s 50 most valuable brands have been reserved by unknown entities – including HSBC.web, JohnLewis.web and Burberry.web – according to ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse, the centralised repository of validated trademarks.

Similarly, third parties have attempted to pre-order 78 per cent of the UK’s top 50 most valuable brands under the .online domain name, 72 per cent under .app, 70 per cent under .shop and 68 per cent under .blog. This practice is known as ‘cybersquatting’, because the third party is essentially holding the brand’s domain name to ransom.”

These are not domain name registrations. The Trademark Clearinghouse must be referring to Expressions of Interest for buying these domain names which basically mean nothing because if the trademark is registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse no one can buy any new gTLD with this exact trademark. .web and .online won’t be out for many months from now.

“The findings include examples of familiar brands from the telecoms, financial services and petroleum industries not owning key domain names such as VirginMedia.info, RBS.biz and Shell.net.”

Domain names such as RBS.biz and Shell.net can be used without infringing somone’s mark.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

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