Inc, is the well-known abbreviation for an incorporated company commonly used in the United States. The Inc company designation follows many household companies such as Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc, AOL Time Warner Inc and Electronic Arts Inc.

The famous INC now has a new partner .inc, a new domain extension that is now available for registration. This partnership does come at a price with a .inc domain retailing at over $2000 per year. There are no restrictions to register a .inc domain and the price of having a shortened company name such as AOL.inc may make it attractive.

It is surprising to learn that this expensive niche domain extension is not immune to the dreaded squatter. Numerous well-known businesses and trade marks have recently been targeted by squatters with deep pockets, some registrations include:

airbnb.inc
alibaba.inc
bankofamerica.inc
cisco.inc
espn.inc
exxonmobil.inc
jpmorgan.inc
mcdonalds.inc
pepsi.inc

It seems the high cost of .inc domains has not discouraged squatters from their usual shenanigans. It is interesting that some of the domains have been repossessed by GoDaddy (registrar), which we assume is due to credit card fraud or other similar fraud.

These domain infringements could be the act of a handful of wealthy squatters or a scaremongering tactic by the registry (operator of .inc). Nevertheless, it does raise the question of whether trade mark owners should consider the more expensive domains as a threat worthy of a defensive registration. There is a tendency to exclude expensive domains from a domain name policy and enforcement strategy as the risk of a registration should reduce proportionally by the cost of a registration.

If the domain is an identical match to a company name then a matching defensive registration may make sense, mitigating potential risk. Anything more than that would be a stretch.