Melbourne IT helps kick squatters out of cyberspace

The process used to resolve the first international case of cybersquatting was partly based on a procedure developed by local domain name registrar Melbourne IT.

In December 1996, Melbourne IT was the first registrar in the world to create a dispute resolution process, according to the company's CEO, Peter Gerrand.

Cybersquatting is the practice of registering an Internet domain name with the intention of profiting from the resale of the name.

Last week, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) settled a case in which US resident Michael Bosman was trying to sell a domain name to the World Wrestling Federation Entertainment (WWF).

Using new procedures for settling domain name disputes developed in December, WIPO ordered Bosman to transfer the domain name to the WWF.

In October, Bosman registered the name worldwrestlingfederation.com with Melbourne IT. Three days later, he tried to sell the name to the WWF for $US1000.

Gerrand said the landmark case was significant for Melbourne IT because the resolution process it developed played an important role in the policy brought about by the WIPO and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

While the policy is not an exact replica of Melbourne IT's method, Gerrand said his company's procedure was examined by the two international organisations. The arbitration process has the potential to save involved parties "tens of thousands of dollars", he added.

Meanwhile, Gerrand said the fallout from the WWF case should have a positive effect on the Internet industry. "I think it will encourage trademark owners to demand a [trademark] domain name be transferred to them."

However, there won't always be cases where the trademark owner wins the arbitration, he warned.

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