How to defend against cyber squatters in the great gTLD 'Landrush'

Uncertainty surrounding rights protection, dispute resolution and cyber squatting has led many rights holders to take a defensive strategy towards gTLDs and register numerous new domain names. However, it appears that taking such drastic measures can be very costly. So what should brand owners be doing to monitor for infringements and defend against cyber squatters?

As we approach the end of the Sunrise period for the first gTLDs, it is vitally important that rights holders develop a strategy for protecting and policing their trademarks as alternative domain endings create new possibilities for cyber-squatting and fraud.

Many organizations register domains that contain their company brand name as a way of protecting rights. This approach is simply not scalable under the new gTLDs – it would be ineffective and highly costly.

Instead, our advice is to assess the gTLDs that could pose a risk by:

  • Focusing mainly on the gTLDs that are applicable to your business or sector
  • Registering key trademarks in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) but be aware that it offers little protection against actual domain infringement
  • Only submit trademarks that you intend to register as domains in the sunrise period to save time and money
  • In many cases, sophisticated monitoring solutions can provide a more effective way of identifying abuse and reduce the cost and administration of defensive domain ownership, although the cost of enforcing any such abuse (dispute and legal fees) must be taken into account

Click here to request a gTLD strategy audit from NetNames.