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Cybersquatters take hold in 2008

Cybersquatting on the rise
Cybersquatting on the rise

Cybersquatting moved to a new level in 2008 as a record number of claims were filed against those seeking to make money from registering domains with famous associations.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) was involved in around 2,300 cases in 2008, with around 14,000 registered in the last 10 years.

According to a report from the United Nations, the most popular category targeted by cybersquatters was pharmaceuticals where websites offer medicines with protected names.

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However, celebrities have also been targeted by abusive registration, with Scarlett Johansson, Dennis Rodman and even Bob the Builder under fire from the cybersquatters.

According to the AFP, around 30 per cent of these cases were settled without the need for a panel decision with those left largely won by the plaintiff.

The idea of cybersquatting usually sees a user registering a trademarked name on the internet with a different suffix, ie or a brand name with a common spelling mistake, like

However, while trademarked names are fairly easy to uphold, the problems come when the name could relate to a wider variety of subjects, like Apple or The Whitehouse.