Persuasion first step in typosquatting cases

Persuasion first step in typosquatting cases

Typosquatting is not a common problem for companies operating websites, but when it does occur, persuading the alleged assailant to play fair is the first step a domain registrant should take, according to an internet law expert.

Typosquatters hope internet users will incorrectly enter a URL address, visiting their site rather than another with a similar name. Some hope the affected company will buy the registered domain from them.

Senior associate at intellectual property firm Baldwins, Breon Gravatt, says a dispute resolution process and court action are other options for typosquatting victims.

“You can go to court if you need to but that’s more expensive and time consuming,” Gravatt says. “The first step would always be to contact the person and say ‘what are you doing?’ and threaten to use the dispute resolution process and/or court proceedings.”

On 1 June last year, the Office of the Domain Name Commissioner introduced the Dispute Resolution Service Policy, which provides an alternative to court action where two parties dispute who the registrant of a .nz domain name should be.

The policy allows a complainant to give evidence supporting their objection to the registration of a domain name, such as trade marks held, or Companies Office documents showing a company name.

The complaint and a response from the domain name registrant are then sent to an independent panel for a decision. Gravatt says the panellists have extensive intellectual property law experience and are mainly barristers and retired judges.

He says typosquatting targets are mostly multinational companies and involve .com domain names, adding his firm has only dealt with “a couple” of typosquatting attacks involving domains.

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