China isn’t known for respecting intellectual property rights and its latest domain name policy reinforces its stance.
According to reports by vmunet and Sina.com, China is changing the way it rules on trademark disputes for its .CN domain names. In order to prevail in domain disputes, trademark holders will need to prove malicious intent and act quickly.
The article says:
“Previous regulations prevented cyber-squatting when claimants to the domain name could prove ‘malicious intent’ on the part of the squatter. However, according to Sina, the new rules suggest that merely registering an existing brand as a domain name does not by itself constitute ‘malicious intent’.
The term applies only to certain obviously hostile acts, for example when the cyber-squatter tries to rent or sell the domain name to a competitor of the putative owner.”
The new rules also require challenges to be made within 2 years of registration. (Incidentally, I think placing a statute of limitations on cybersquatting might be a good idea. It would reduce reverse hijacking cases.)
Look no further than Gmail.cn to see the Chinese internet in action. The owner of Gmail.cn might have legitimate rights to it. After all, he registered the domain prior to the Gmail service being announced. But look at how he has implemented the domain– an exact copy of Google’s Gmail service!
According to the article, Google is rumored to have paid around $1m to acquire google.cn and google.com.cn last year.