Fighting Cyber Squating

This is a bit beyond our normal UN coverage, but one agency that rarely gets the recognition it deserves is the World Intellectual Property Organization (or WIPO), which is dedicated to developing common international intellectual property rights mechanisms. This includes arbitrating so-called “cyber squatting” complaints. For those not in the know, cyber-squatting is “registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.” For example, (and this was a real case brought to arbitration) if one were to register the domain name in Tunisia, then market it as an “adult entertainment site,” one would be accused of cyber-squating. Cyber squatting is illegal in the United States and many other countries.

This is all coming to my attention today because WIPO just announced that there has been a 25% increase in cyber squatting complaints in 2006. Who knew? Could this be the start of a trend?