Filipino Senate considers anti-cybersquatting bill

Philippines

The Senate of the Philippines is considering an anti-cybersquatting bill, designed to prevent bad-faith domain name registrations. If approved, Senate Bill 470 will allow the courts to impose criminal sanctions and it will also strengthen the civil remedies available against cybersquatters.

The bill, which is being assessed by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and the Committee on Public Service, was introduced to the Senate by Senator Vicente C Sotto. Sotto decided to sponsor the bill following a cybersquatter's offer to sell him the domain name 'titosotto.com' for $50,000.

The bill provides that it will be unlawful for any legal or natural person to register a domain name where:

  • the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to (i) an existing registered trademark, or (ii) a personal name;

  • the registrant has no legal rights or intellectual property interests in the domain name; and

  • the registrant has a bad-faith intention to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, or deprive another party of its right of registration.

In addition, the bill makes domain name registrars civilly liable if they effect fraudulent registrations. Further, it gives courts a discretion to impose a penalty of imprisonment for cybersquatting of between four and eight years and/or a fine of between Ps2 million and Ps50 million. The bill also provides new civil remedies, including the cancellation of a disputed domain name or its transfer.

Llewellyn L Llanillo, Sycip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan, Manila

Get unlimited access to all WTR content