Internet regulator mulls cybersquatting block

Jul 13, 2009 By ANICK JESDANUN , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- The Internet's key oversight agency is considering a centralized database of trademark holders, to cut down on questionable registrations of new Internet addresses.

Officials say the mechanism won't preclude a new Web site from being created at, say, "http://www.apple.farm" by someone outside Apple Inc. But it would create hurdles. Backers of the idea say it is needed so holders won't have to spend thousands of dollars registering defensively, to block someone from registering them and trying to profit - a practice known as "cybersquatting."

The proposed trademark database comes as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, is trying to widely expand the number of Internet domains, which include ".com," for the first time since the 1980s.

New names could start appearing next year.

Trademark holders have already had first dibs when new domain suffixes are created, but many companies fear that if ICANN suddenly adds 500 suffixes to the system, they'd have to register their brands in each domain. Administrative costs could balloon if those suffixes all have different rules for trademark claims.

So a central database, dubbed an IP Clearinghouse, would unify those rules. And someone's attempt to register a trademark under a new suffix would be automatically blocked, until the applicant could prove that its use is legitimate.

ICANN has long grappled with trademark complaints, and many of its critics say the existing system favors trademark holders over individuals and groups with legitimate needs for a name - for example, to set up a Web site critical of a company.

The recommendations for an IP Clearinghouse come from a committee largely made up of corporations and intellectual-property lawyers. might not decide on the idea until December.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

.mobi registration kicks off

May 23, 2006

Members of mobile-industry associations began applying for their .mobi domain names, kicking off registration Monday that runs until May 29.

U.N. report addresses Internet governance

Jul 15, 2005

An independent group established by the United Nations concludes there is a need for Internet oversight and recommends the creation of a ruling body.

74,000 .eu domain names suspended

Jul 24, 2006

At least 74,000 domain names ending with .eu have been suspended for abusive behavior by a group that controls the name.

Recommended for you

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

13 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

14 hours ago

Google is introducing an application designed to make it easier for its Gmail users to find and manage important information that can often become buried in their inboxes.

Fighting cyber-crime one app at a time

20 hours ago

This summer Victoria University of Wellington will be home to four Singaporean students researching cyber threats. The students have been working with Dr Ian Welch, a lecturer in Victoria's School of Engineering and Computer ...

Is big data heading for its 'horsemeat moment'?

22 hours ago

There have been so many leaks, hacks and scares based on misuse or misappropriation of personal data that any thought that "big data" could provide benefits rather than only opportunities for harm may be ...

User comments : 0