Domain name squatting is a term often wrongly connected with domainers. Distinction is quite obvious, a domainer is a person holding portfolio of domain names for sale or further development. A squatter is a person intentionally buying domain names which are either directly related to someones trademark, personal name or brand or they are a clear typo on the above. While there is nothing wrong with investing in domain names for further resale, intentionally buying domain names as squatter do is not only wrong but illegal.
The mix-up of domainers and domain name squatters happens because general public on the internet (netizens if you like) are often unaware that having the same idea on the name does not make you de-facto proprietor of that name idea. However if you are serious and your company has a brand or a product line you will go and register this name and there you will have a clear case. ICANN and their guidelines are quite clear on the subject, if there is a dispute it is often solved without involving any courts.
We at Vastus Domains are reselling expired domain names and in this bunch there are many suspicious cases of domain name infringement. We do our best to isolate such cases and would cease and stop acquisition of a disputed name as soon as we find it. There is nothing worse than to make a bad name for already shady domain name industry. We have had few people write to us regarding various names and if we find the claim truthful we act upon it.
You might ask yourself why is this even happening. To answer that we can make a simple calculation. Let us say that potential squatter sees a domain name “gugl.com”. This is a common typo domain for “google.com” in most east Europe and north Europe. It is an obvious typo of registered trademark of Google Inc. The market (potential visitors) is quite huge and has a great potential. There could be hundreds if not thousands of dollars profit of only targeted ads on this name. For squatter timing is of an essence, because sooner or later he or she will get caught with a hand in cookie jar and this is game over for that lucrative income. Because ICANN and its dispute policy (UDRP) is clear on the subject and thankfully the process of resolution of such dispute is fast and efficient.
There are also exceptions. For example if you happen to have a similar name to one of the registered trademarks or otherwise disputable and you have a case where you use this name in good faith (this means that you are not piggy backing on the other name either by using the same line of work or advertising the same product) you can retain your name and continue on with your business. However such cases often lead to a court trial where courts decide the rightfulness of the claim. This endeavor can be quite expensive and if disputed party has no funds for a legal battle more times than often the disputed name is being just turned over to the big player.