Minister Urges WIPO Anti-Squatting Policy

The Federal Government has
called on the World Intellectual Property
Organization
(WIPO) to develop voluntary guideliness and policies to
help prevent cybersquatting.

The Minister for Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts
, Senator Richard Alston, made the
call for assistance after Australia joined an international coalition of
governments and organizations to restrict cybersquatting.

Chief executive officer of the National Office for the Information
Economy, Dr Paul Twomey, convened the February meeting to develop a
framework in which to institute anti-squatting policies.

“Preventing cybersquatting will increase confidence in Internet
infrastructure and e-commerce by protecting the established rights of
businesses and individuals,” said Alston.

The Australian government’s request has been supported by fellow WIPO
members Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France and
the USA.

Cybersquatting is the registration of an Internet domain name that is
abusing or in bad faith with regard to a name in which a person has
intellectual property rights or some other legitimate claim.

Although the notion of protecting intellectual property has driven
anti-squatting policies so far, Senator Alston asked the WIPO to also
investigate uncertainty with cybersquatting surrounding non-trademarkable
names, such as personal names, names of intergovernmental organizations and
geographical terms.

Alston’s interest in this issue may be in part motivated by the fact
that he has been stung by it. An Adelaide resident has registered the
domain name ‘richardalston.com’, and refutes the idea that he is a
cybersqatter, saying that the name is not for sale.

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