Internationalized domain names: the monitoring of non-Latin character domain names

Internationalized Domain Names (IDN TLD) allow people around the world to access domain names in their local language.

Cybersquatting has also expanded from the standard Top Level Domains like .com or .cn to non-Latin scripts including Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic scripts such as .中国 (.china) or .рф (.rf).

A multilingual Internet

Since 2009, the extensions in Latin (letters a to z) and non-Latin characters, in numbers (0 through 9), or hyphens (-) have been allowed for first-level and second-level domain names.

Yet it is expected that the number of Internet users around the world will increase from some 413 million in 2000 to some 5 billion in 2020, logically accompanied by an increase in the number of cybersquatters!

History of internationalized domain names

Today, domain names play a major role in ensuring the success of a trademark. However, while many companies are setting up monitoring services for their trademarks or domain names, they should not underestimate the potential risks that may arise from domain names in non-Latin characters.

A significant number of domain names are being registered in non-Latin characters

To date, there are already more than 6 million registered domain names in non-Latin characters. The use of domain names in non-Latin characters is growing and becoming common practice, particularly because of the fact that web content now exists in numerous different languages: 10 % of websites are in English, 22% in Russian, 19% in Chinese and 12% in Japanese.

Intensification of a trend

In 2014, ICANN began encouraging the new extensions specific to certain communities, including extensions in Arabic, Cyrillic and Chinese. Since then, five different panels per country have been formed worldwide in order to establish labeling and regulate areas by nation. The accelerated procedure for creation of internationalized domain names was introduced in 2009 and allows countries and territories to submit their applications for the opening of domain name extensions in non-Latin characters.

A specific monitoring tool

The introduction of internationalized domain names (IDN TLDs) has generated significant technical changes in the representation of domain names and made traditional monitoring tools insufficient. The internationalized domain names are registered in encrypted form, which does not allow the recognition of a term as a trademark. Only a specific tool can detect cases of internationalized domain name cybersquatting.

It is now essential to monitor your internationalized domain names on the Internet and pursue cybersquatters by using the appropriate tools.

Dreyfus & Associés specializes in monitoring domain names and can help you manage and prevent abusive practices on the Internet. Do not hesitate to contact us for additional information.