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Call for WIPO to wipe out cybersquatters

The Australian Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston, today announced that the Australian Government has called on the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to develop guidelines and policies to prevent cybersquatting.

Cybersquatting is the abusive or bad faith registration of an internet domain name that is similar to a name in which another person has intellectual property rights, or some other legitimate claim.

'Australia is leading the world in issues of internet governance and policy discussions. Preventing cybersquatting will increase confidence in internet infrastructure and e-commerce by protecting the established rights of businesses and individuals,' Senator Alston said.

A Government initiative in February led to the creation of a powerful coalition of 19 national governments, public authorities and international organisations which has pushed for the restriction of cybersquatting.

Senator Alston praised the work of Dr Paul Twomey, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Office for the Information Economy, and convenor of the landmark international meeting on cybersquatting held in Sydney in February.

'It is important that nations work together to develop an integrated international framework which serves the interests of the global internet community,' Dr Twomey said.

Australia is requesting that WIPO develop voluntary guidelines and policies to curb cybersquatting and to resolve related disputes.

In addition, WIPO is being asked to undertake further study and develop recommendations relating to areas of continuing uncertainty with cybersquatting such as non-trademarkable names including personal names, International Nonproprietary Names for pharmaceutical substances, names of international intergovernmental organisations, geographical indications, and geographical terms.

'The Australian Government is confident that WIPO will take the appropriate action swiftly,' Senator Alston said.

Australia's request has official endorsement from the following WIPO members: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France and the United States of America.

Media contact:
Terry O'Connor, Minister's office, 02 6277 7480
Dr Paul Twomey, NOIE, 02 9240 0900

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