You can’t read a magazine or newspaper without there being a reference to a new celebrity mum and hype around the new baby’s sometimes ‘unusual’ name.
Such hype surrounding the name of these celebrities babies has resulted in them being considered by some as a ‘brand’. Consequently there has been a surge of domain names registrations soon after the announcement of the celebrity baby’s name. This is known as cyber-squatting. The notion where a domain name is registered for a word which is likely to have significant goodwill in the future. The cyber-squatter will register the name and sit on it for a while to then try and sell the domain name for a profit.
Usually the rightful owner of a ‘brand’ will be able to recover the domain name by making an application to the domain name dispute resolution service. Having evidence to support an application will be crucial and usually showing you have trade mark for the word will suffice. Unfortunately, in the UK you may have some difficulty in registering a trade mark for a name, as often names are ‘devoid of distinctness’. Therefore to support an application to recover the domain name, the applicant may have to demonstrate that the cyber-squatter has no rights in the domain name and is simply holding the domain name to seek a commercial gain.
With the increase in celebrity ’brands’ it is expected that cyber-squatting and domain name disputes will dramatically increase.