Businesses are being warned about 'squatters' who are targeting new .London web domains based on company names, with the hope of selling them on for large sums of money.
The .London internet domain name is set to launch in summer 2014, with registrations opening in spring 2014.
Matthew Sammon, Trade Mark Attorney and Partner at Marks & Clerk, commented: “.London is one of the first new top-level domains that will become available to businesses over the coming months. We’re likely to see other cities with their own domains too.
"Buying a domain name like www.tesco.london gives companies a great opportunity to associate their business with a specific location. However, companies need to be aware that there are domain name squatters out there keen to abuse these opportunities by registering others' brand names as domains.”
However, Sammon added: “Avenues exist for businesses to defend their trademarks without having to actually buy a new domain name. Registering details of trade mark rights with ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse will mean that if a third party attempts to register a domain name which matches a trade mark term recorded with the Trademark Clearinghouse, ICANN will notify them of the existing trade mark rights.
"If the third party continues with the registration despite receiving the notice, the rights holder will be notified and have the opportunity to take appropriate action against a potential infringer or domain name squatter.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Adopting the .London suffix will enable organisations to more closely associate themselves with our great city's powerful global brand.
"This is also an excellent opportunity to expand London's digital presence, which in turn is set to generate funds to invest back into the city."