Cybersquatting: The International rules applying to legislation on Internet domain name.
The universe of brands was strongly impacted for soon 15 years by the development of the Internet, through the emergence of domain names. In the international scale, a principle governs the registration of domain names: it is about the rule of the "first come, first served". A domain name is attributed to the one who makes the first the request, without taking into account the anteriority of the possible trademark registration.
The cybersquatting consists in reserving a domain name corresponding to brand or a person with the aim of reselling it, like blackmail, or abusing it, for example by creating a rerouting towards the site of a competitor. Some people even became specialists, sometimes having thousand domain names ready to be resold or used as a weapon during election campaigns.
Internet domain name
In the world of the IT communication, every computer is identified by a number of four numbers separated by a point. This number is called an address of Internet protocol, more familiarly the IP address. It is by this number that communicates computers.
Memorizing an IP number is repulsive. That is why the domain name was created. It is easier to remember "www.yahoo.com", "www.toile.qc.ca" or "www.nomade.fr" than their respective IP address "18.104.22.168", "22.214.171.124" and "126.96.36.199". By going through these directories, we can notice the diversity of domain names.
It allows making researches on the databases of domain names ending by .fr or .re as well as .tf.yt.pm and .wf.
Examples of Cybersquatting
At the approach of the presidential election, the cybersquatting develops. Morin2012.fr sends back towards a blog without visible link and francoisfillon.fr towards the site of a website dedicated to the campaign of François Hollande.
The motivations of these Internet users are varied: bothering the digital communications strategy of the candidate, make the buzz on its personal website or sometimes try to exchange the transfer of the domain name. Two days after his entrance to campaign, Hervé Morin has no official site and the Internet users who write "Morin on 2012" in a search engine meet on a sarcastic blog which discusses subject so varied as "the big hope of 2012" or still "the word of the drunkard".
How to fight against Cybersquatting
First principle: to privilege the prevention. The company has to allocate sufficient resources to the warehouse of the domain names corresponding to its social name, but also, in an intuitive way, to the various possible declensions. For instance, the “example” company will give evidence of course www.example.com, but also www.e-example.com or www.example-online.com, etc. The budget necessary for this indispensable initiative will be function of the importance which the company grants to the protection of its image on the Internet (nature of the activity, the weak or strong degree of internationalization of the activity, etc.).
Second principle: the negotiation. In the hypothesis where the domain name of the company was monopolized already deceitfully, it is advisable, before any legal or extra-judicial action, to deal with the cyber squatter to make sure of its intentions. This contacting has to dress a formal character and will constitute a formal demand of restoration of the domain name. This phase of negotiations can know the more or less happy end according to the determination of the pirate. The company can also deal with a third mediator who will propose a set of negotiated solutions to the parties.
The third principle: extra-legal instruments. The guiding principles governing the uniform regulation of the disputes relative to domain names, adopted in August, 1999 by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for...