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How to Protect Your Business from Cybersquatting

Cybersquatting

What is Cybersquatting?

Cybersquatting (also known as domain squatting) generally involves a person registering, trafficking in or using a domain name that contains an existing business name or is similar to an existing domain.

The “cybersquatter” will then try to either sell the domain at an extortionate price back to the target company or use the domain to redirect business to themselves.

What Effect Does This Have on Me and My Business?

If a ‘cybersquatter’ has registered a domain name containing the name of your business or a similar variation of it, you could potentially lose out on a substantial amount of customers who believe they are on your website but in fact have been redirected to another website. In extreme cases, the ‘cybersquatter’ may even demand that you to pay a large sum of money in order for them to transfer the domain name to your business.

These faux websites have also been used as the subject of ‘phishing’ emails in an attempt to trick customers into clicking on the link and either sharing personal details such as their usernames and passwords or downloading viruses.

What Steps Can I Take to Prevent Cybersquatting?

As a customer, Loosemores recommends that you should follow these tips:

  • Check for added letters in the domain, such as “Exaample.co.uk”;
  • Check for reversed letters, such as “Exampel.co.uk”;
  • Check for dashes in the domain name, such as “Exa-mple.co.uk”; and
  • Check for singular or plural versions of the domain name, such as “Examples.co.uk”.

As a business, Loosemores recommends that you should follow these tips:

  • Select and secure a domain name as early as possible in the infancy stages of your business;
  • Check for other domain names that are similar to the one(s) you are thinking of registering. It is equally important that you do not copy another business’ name in order to avoid any conflict and potential opposition from them;
  • Have a registered trademark. This can be done through submitting an application to the Intellectual Property Office. If you can show that you are the registered owner, it will be easier to challenge any domain name containing the name of your business or a similar variation of it. Once registered, you will also be notified of anyone who seeks to register a similar name in the future;
  • Consider purchasing variations of your domain name. For example, “business-name.co.uk”,”business.name.co.uk” and “businessnames.co.uk” as this is considered to be the easiest and cheapest way of protecting your company before any damage is done; and
  • Consider purchasing more than one extension. For example “businessname.com” or “businessname.net”.

Loosemores is a boutique law firm with in-depth knowledge and expertise in commercial matters. If you are thinking of registering a trademark and/or domain name, please contact us for a no-obligation discussion and a free quotation.

Email: Commercial@loosemores.co.uk

Phone: 029 2022 4433

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