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Recent research has revealed the extent of a newly discovered type of domain name abuse. Dubbed ‘soundsquatting’, it is based on homophone confusion of popular domains and the authors of the study have urged trademark counsel to take note due to the high proportion of malicious domains uncovered.
New research into typosquatting has highlighted the increasingly sophisticated methods that typosquatters are implementing to dupe users and revealed a number of trends that trademark counsel should pay heed to.
The second edition of Online Brand Enforcement: Protecting Your Trademarks in the Electronic Environment is now available to view online.
With the launch of its ‘.adult’ and ‘.porn’ TLDs imminent, ICM Registry has expanded on its plans to offer trademark owners wishing to keep their trademark terms out of the hands of cybersquatters access to reduced Trademark Clearinghouse fees.
While not a new phenomenon, over the past few weeks a number of increasingly sophisticated fake news websites have created headaches for media brands. The owner of a number of these sites has suggested to World Trademark Review that more such attacks are planned.
gTLD operator ‘.xyz’ has withdrawn a press release that highlighted a number of brand name-related domain names that were being “released to the public”. The removal followed enquiries from World Trademark Review about the motivation for using trademark terms and highlights the challenge facing those marketing gTLDs to brands.
A brand-hijacked website using the new gTLD string ‘.website’ went viral last week with a hoax news report about the ‘death of Macaulay Culkin’. The hoax spread, in part, because of the authentic-looking ‘msnbc.website’ domain. This issue highlights the risk that new gTLDs will be used to spoof media outlets, which could potentially lose credibility. Our research suggests that further spoofs and brand hijacking could follow, with a number of large media names up for grabs in the new gTLD space.
In a blow to trademark owners who blocked their terms in the ‘.xxx’ string and expected that they would receive similar protection in other adult strings, ICM Registry has confirmed that those seeking protection in the ‘.porn’ and ‘.adult’ strings will now have to pay for the privilege. Better news comes from an unexpected source the operator of the ‘.sucks’ string, who previously announced plans for $25,000 sunrise fees.
We take a look at the world’s most valuable sports teams to see how they are approaching the gTLD expansion. The picture here is even bleaker than on the corporate scene, with private individuals taking the lead in terms of reserving primary brand names.
While new gTLD domain registrations have surpassed the half a million mark, less than a quarter of corporate trademark counsel have made changes to their online enforcement strategies in reaction to the gTLD expansion, according to World Trademark Review’s annual Global Benchmarking Survey.
In the programme update session at ICANN’s Singapore meeting, the organisation announced that 182 new gTLDs have been delegated (as of this morning). While the rollout continues, a number of domain industry voices have expressed frustration at both the level of brand owner engagement with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) and the advice some lawyers are giving their clients.
For many trademark counsel, online policing is a full-time job and can be the source of great frustration either due to the ‘whack-a-mole’ effect whereby bad actors quickly replace ads that have been taken down or because of the seemingly insurmountable scale of the world to be monitored. Last year the number of ‘bad ads’ taken down by Google rocketed. While positive, the figures suggest that the policing task faced by trademark counsel is about to get more complicated.
The online challenges faced by trademark counsel and brand protection specialists are in a constant state of flux, with new gTLDs set to expand both the opportunities for, and risks to, brands. To assist trademark counsel in their online policing activities, World Trademark Review is pleased to announce Online Brand Enforcement: Protecting Your Trademarks in the Electronic Environment, the latest title to join the growing WTR portfolio. As well as hard copies being sent to WTR subscribers, the guide has today been published online.
The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse has responded to concerns that its proposals to strengthen US anti-cybersquatting legislation would give trademark owners an unfair advantage over domainers in disputes regarding domain ownership.
2012 was another record year in terms of the number of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) complaints, posing the question of exactly what impact the expanded online space will have on trademark counsels’ workloads.
Following in the footsteps of Facebook and Google+, Amazon is set to rollout its own ‘brand pages’ service. The Amazon Pages initiative will expand the company’s online retailing focus by providing a third-party platform for brand owners to market their own products and might also explain some of the company’s applications to run new gTLDs. WTR examines the key issues that trademark counsel should consider.
Disputes adjudicated at WIPO hit a record-breaking 2,944 per annum in July this year, a 6% increase on last year. This news comes as no great surprise to trademark practitioners, who have experienced the steady increase of cybersquatting first hand. But while these figures will be worrying news, brand protection strategies are evolving to fight the ever-changing threat posed by cybersquatters.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group’s latest report on phishing trends during the first quarter of 2012 has found that, while brand owners have become increasingly vigilant in their defence against the problem, the perpetrators have likewise grown more sophisticated. WTR considers what brand owners can do to combat this ever more complex problem.
Over the past few months, Google has made a series of changes to its search algorithm. In this continuing move towards semantic search, brands will need to focus even more than before on reviewing their engagement with consumers. Search based on social connections and relevancy of content may also offer benefits in the fight against trademark infringement and counterfeiting.
Opponents to ICANN’s rollout of new gTLDs were given another opportunity to air their concerns at government level yesterday, but US senators suggest that the time to effect substantive changes to the programme has passed. The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is now urging a focus on policy improvement.
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