Law firm Bowman Gilfillan John and Kernick last week announced that a UK-based company, Solus Online, has recently been approaching SA companies under the pretext that their company names and or trade marks are in the process of being registered by third parties as either a dotcom and/or dotnet Internet domain. Such unusual practice by so-called domain registration operations is very suspicious and smacks of opportunism, says specialist attorney Neil Dundas of the law firm.

It is highly unlikely that an alleged domain name registrar, such as Solus claims to be, would first investigate the availability for registration of Internet domain names prior to proceeding with such registration. Industry practice (there are exceptions but these do not apply to the .COM and .NET domain) dictates that domain names are strictly allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, without human intervention.

Says Dundas: "It is unlikely that we will be able to determine with absolute certainty whether Solus’ approaches are bona fide or not. The situation is however, very suspicious, and companies are advised to use common sense if approached by this or any other company making similar claims. We are in the process of conducting our own investigation, with the view of possibly lodging a complaint with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names (Icann)."

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