What is the nature of domain name disputes?

While designed to serve the function of enabling users to locate computers (and people) in an easy manner, domain names have acquired a further significance as business identifiers and, as such, have come into conflict with the system of business identifiers that existed before the arrival of the Internet and that are protected by intellectual property rights.

Domain name disputes arise largely from the practice of cybersquatting, which involves the pre-emptive registration of trademarks by third parties as domain names.

Cybersquatters exploit the first-come, first-served nature of the domain name registration system to register names of trademarks, famous people or businesses with which they have no connection. Since registration of domain names is relatively simple, cybersquatters can register numerous examples of such names as domain names.

As the holders of these registrations, cybersquatters often then put the domain names up for auction, or offer them for sale directly to the company or person involved, at prices far beyond the cost of registration.

Alternatively, they can keep the registration and use the name of the person or business associated with that domain name to attract business for their own sites. – WIPO

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