Jonathan Shea, CEO of HKIRC
The Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation (HKIRC) has launched .hk WATCH, a .hk domain name monitoring service for brand owners to protect them from possible abuse of their brands.
Since domain names represent a company's online identity and business trademark, they are considered the most important form of online Intellectual Property (IP). It is thus worrying that domain name disputes contributed to 37 percent of the arbitration cases handled by Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre in 2013.
"Over the past few years, more and more global brands have discovered that their domain names have been registered for malicious activities," said Jonathan Shea, CEO of HKIRC. "Brand infringers or cybersquatters use the brand names maliciously or even mimic a reputable company's domain name, creating confusion for the public. This impacts a company's brand reputation, business and customer loyalty."
To counter cybersquatting, the .hk WATCH service closely monitors .hk domain names to identify those which are identical or similar. The service will also look at domain names containing common misspellings of a name, trademark or service mark, as well as those combining prefix/ suffix wildcards with trademarks, to prevent typosquatting activities, said the HKIRC.
Subscribers to the service will receive an initial report showing existing .hk domain names which resemble their brand names or marks. The search runs daily, checking for newly registered .hk domain name that meets the search criteria. It keeps brand owners updated in a timely manner, alerting them if there is malicious activity.
"Deploying .hk WATCH is the first step which provides an easy and affordable way for businesses to protect their online Intellectual Property, providing early notification (or warning) of online brand infringement and helping maintain full control over the brand worldwide," said Shea.
Now available to all brand owners, the service can be subscribed from Business NETVIGATOR, Huyi, CNDNS.com, Speedy Group, UDomain.NET and HKIRC.
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