Domain name ‘squatters’ cashing in

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.

US and European authorities said they seized 132 websites in a transatlantic law enforcement crackdown on online sellers of counterfeit merchandise. Credit:

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