London - Disputes over internet domain names have hit a record high over the past 12 months.

The disputes occur when companies, most often well-known brands, find a competitor or “squatter” using their trademark in a website name.

It is common for the squatters to register virtually identical domains, in an attempt to attract online traffic, or sell the domain back to the rightful owner.

Legal information provider Sweet & Maxwell said such disputes, adjudicated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, hit 2,944 in the 12 months to July 2012, a six percent increase on the same month last year.

This year, fashion giant Gucci has been forced to bring six cases to win control of more than 100 domains. - The Independent