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What is Cybersquatting?

What Is Cybersquatting?

A new revolution is underway in the field of communication, providing cyberspace with an abundance of opportunities. On the internet, domain names have a sizable market all to themselves. It has become necessary for companies to use the internet as a promotional, advertising, and selling tool. Unfortunately, Cybersquatting has also increased as a consequence of deceptive and illegal actions. In this article, I will try my best to give an overview of cybersquatting and its consequences. 

Generally speaking, cybersquatting refers to the act of registering, buying, selling, or utilizing a domain name with the purpose of making money off of the reputation of another person’s brand.

As the name suggests, squatting is the way of obtaining abandoned or unoccupied spaces or building that they do not own, rent, or own with permission. Cybersquatting differs from traditional squatting in that it involves paying for domain names (sometimes, but not always) during the registration process by the cyber squatters. Generally, cyber-squatters demand extremely high prices as compared to the ones they paid for the same.

What Are the Different Types of Cybersquatting?

There are various categories of cyber-squatting. Generally, they are: –

  1. Typosquatting– To reassemble the letters of the actual domain name to create a new one.
    For example- Twiitter.com, Twittr.com, Twittor.com, etc. Due to such type of squatting a user can falls prey to Phishing, which is a form of Data Mining using underhanded tactics.  
  2. Top-Level Domain–  refers to the last segment of a domain name or the part that follows immediately after the “dot” symbol.
    For example- ‘.org’, ‘.uk’, and ‘.edu’.

Why Are Domain Names So Important?

While valuing businesses, intangible assets along with tangible assets play an important role. Intellectual property, goodwill, and brand recognition are examples of intangible assets which are not physical in nature. Despite being intangible, when it comes to the value of the business goodwill and brand recognition are closely linked.

Brand recognition is the process that helps in identifying a specific brand. A brand may consist of logos, features, etc. For example- the Nike logo, “Swoosh”. This creates an image or a stereotype in the minds of people that are associated with the brand which is essential for brand value.

An annual list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands, is based on three factors: financial forecasting of future revenue associated with the brand, the brand’s role as a percentage of total revenue, and brand strength, which includes metrics like visibility and loyalty. Amazon, Apple, Microsoft etc. are businesses that are widely recognized for their high quality and are known by almost everyone on the planet. Maintaining a strong brand identity is critical for business owners

Author: Ishant Singh, Legal Intern at PA Legal.

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