Vidahost issued a press release regarding their early access programme for .ltd earlier this month and warned trademark holders to take control of their .ltd domains and secure them.
This action is a result of the report by World Intellectual Property Organisation stating that 2015 showed a considerable rise in cybersquatting incidents as a result of the new gTLD’s. These added measures have been taken with new gTLDs such as .ltd in mind to safeguard the interests of trademark holders.
The .ltd domain extension was available to trademark holders from June 12 onwards. However, from June 22, the domain became available to everyone. This resulted in squatters registering domains for terms that did not belong to them. The new .ltd gTLD has been predicted to cause further damage if cybersquatters leap at this new opportunity.
According to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, there are 1.6 million actively trading private sector companies in the UK, the vast majority of which would be registered as Ltd’s. As such, .ltd cybersquatting could create a stressful situation for limited companies, therefore impacting revenues for smaller businesses already accepting losses in their first few years of trading or significantly damaging the reputation of larger enterprises that have spent years investing in in their brand equity.