International trademark squatting has boomed in the past 10 years. More brand owners than ever are seeking to do business in foreign countries, only to find that their trademarks have been registered by unscrupulous individuals who are willing to release the marks only if they are paid the right price.
The increase in such trademark extortion is an unintended consequence of globalization and the Internet. As more companies are doing business overseas, requiring more trademark registrations in foreign countries, the opportunity for trademark squatting has jumped. And squatters are finding it easier to take advantage of those opportunities thanks to the Internet, which enables the wrongdoers to quickly find likely trademarks to hijack.