This autumn the place to be seen was WIPO. Not a premier or a party, but the World Intellectual Property Organisation, where the great and the good have lodged applications to have 'their' domain names restored to them. Among the conspicuous winners have been Madonna and Jeanette Winterson.
The attraction of the scheme is that it is cheap and accessible to all. The whole process takes only a few weeks (in contrast to conventional litigation), and the procedure is open to businesses as well as individuals.
Essentially, a complainant needs to show that a domain name has been registered in bad faith based on their trademark. Results so far have tended to favour complainants.
In a separate move, Europe looks set to get its own top-level domain name next year. Businesses should be able to register a .eu domain, in addition to their existing .com and .co.uk addresses.