Disputes over the use of internet domain names have reached an all time record high over the past year, with more legal contests for valuable domain names than ever before.
These disputes occur when high profile household brands and other successful companies discover a competitor, or ‘squatter’ using their name or trademarks in a website name or domain.
Often squatters use the technique of registering virtually identical web domains in order to attract more online traffic for their site or command money from the rightful owner by way of a re-sale.
Legal disputes of this kind, adjudicated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation reached a high of 2,944 in the 12 months to July 2012; which represented a 6% leap on the previous year.
One of the most active participants is believed to be the worldwide fashion brand Gucci, which has been forced to bring six cases of the kind to court, in order to win control of more than 100 branded domain names.
These figures were revealed by legal information providers Sweet & Maxwell, and demonstrate the importance of branded domains to SEO.