October 7, 2013
The number of incidents involving Australians accused of cybersquatting and related domain name disputes is probably higher than you think.
According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO); Australian respondents (the "accused") involved in domain name disputes make up around 3.25% of the global figure. WIPO figures show Australians rank no. 6 in the alleged cybersquatter stakes. Cybersquatting is a broad term that also includes typosquatting; where misspellings of a domain name are registered.
Here's the top ten breakdown of respondent countries.
United States of America - 9299 - 34.33%
China - 2440 - 9.01%
United Kingdom - 2132 - 7.87%
Spain - 1090 - 4.02%
Canada - 1010 - 3.73%
Australia - 881 - 3.25%
Republic of Korea - 822 - 3.03%
France - 819 - 3.02%
Netherlands - 671 - 2.48%
India - 479 - 1.77%
Source: WIPO (October 7, 2013)
Statistics on how many of those cases were judged in favour of the complainant don't appear to be available.
As for complainants, Australians rank number 12 - just 1.64% of the global total.
WIPO is an agency of the United Nations. Among other functions, it offers arbitration and mediation services under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Its services are cheaper and faster than taking a case before the courts. However, "cheaper" doesn't mean cheap - the service can still cost between $2,000 and $4,500 per case.
Australians who feel they have fallen victim to a cybersquatter in relation to a domain name they have registered ending in .AU should as a first step consult the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP).
Prevention being better than cure, it can be wise to register the .COM equivalent of a .AU name if it is available and perhaps common misspellings if applicable in order to minimize the potential effect cybersquatting attempts can have.
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