Wanted: arts-loving intellectual property lawyer with large pro-bono account

Saturday 24 March 2007

CybersquatterHonestly, you finally find yourself an innocent pastime and what do you get? A cybersquatter.

Cybersquatting is apparently “the registering, trafficking in, or using a domain name with bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else”.

We’ve been running West End Whingers for a year now, but never imagined that someone else might find a way to profit from it.But now some “entrepreneur” (W a n – F u C h i n a, L t d. trading out of the Bahamas) has bought the domain name westendwhingers . com and stuffed it full of cost-per-click advertising. The means that anyone taking a guess at our web address could end up there. Every times someone clicks on a link there the advertiser gives the squatter some money.

There is something called the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) to enable companies to challenge cybersquatters, but this has to be done through an approved provider and would appear to cost a minimum of $1,500 .

Presumably we would also need to pay £200 to apply to register a UK Trade Mark with the UK Patent Office. Just to put that in language we understand, that’s 20 evenings at the National Theatre or 15 bottles of wine – just for the trademark.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. It’s given us plenty to whinge about, although everyone we whinge to just says really helpful things such as “you should have bought it yourself”.

Anyway, we’ve dipped our hands in our pockets and shelled out for some of the other available domains just so that nobody else can. But we were horrified to discover that there is no .whinge or even .disorg and have had to settle for westendwhingers.org and we may start using this at some point in the future.

Oh well, at least we seem to have won a laptop on westendwhingers . com:

Cybersquatter

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