Korea plans to make cybersquatting a crime

South Korea

In an attempt to combat rampant cybersquatting, Korea's Ministry of Information and Communication has announced that it will revise the legislation relating to domain names, making cybersquatting a crime. The new law will also give the Korea Network Information Centre a greater role in managing the domain name system.

Current Korean law is lenient on cybersquatters. As a result, several domestic and foreign domain name registration companies have been allowed to squat on Korean character domain names that incorporate the trademarks of Korean companies, such as Samsung and Hyundai.

The Ministry of Information and Communication has proposed a bill - the Internet Domain Resources Management Bill - that will end the existing first-come, first-served registration system and prohibit anyone from intentionally registering country-code top-level domain names that incorporate the names of famous trademarks or trade names in order to profit from the association with the famous mark or name. Once approved, the new law will impose a fine of up to W10 million for each case of cybersquatting.

The Ministry of Information and Communication's bill also proposes to:

  • set up a government organization in charge of settling domain-related disputes;

  • give a larger mandate to the Korea Network Information Centre in managing the domain name system; and

  • establish new organizations, such as a Policy Review Committee to oversee government policies on domain names and an Internet Promotion Agency to supervise the nation's internet technology development projects.

Yoon Bae Kim, Kims & Lees, Seoul

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