Companies whose Web site names infringed upon others' might face court challenges, officials said yesterday. They would be required to prove their links to the registered names if disputes arose, said Deputy Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting Jessie Ting Yip Yin-mei. A taskforce is reviewing Internet registration protocol for the first time to see if arrangements should be relaxed. At present, only companies or organisations may submit registrations with names ending with '.hk'. The process is exclusively handled by the university-run Hong Kong Network Information Centre, which allocates on a first-come, first-served basis. There were about 30,000 names ending with '.hk' by January this year. New applications number around 1,500 each month. Mrs Ting admitted the centre did not screen applications to see whether they infringed a registered trademark. But it could strike off the domain name if the registered party failed to show evidence of ownership to the trademark. 'There is an established mechanism to address the problem,' she told the Legco information technology and broadcasting panel. Aggrieved parties might lodge their case to courts, she said. Sin Chung-kai, representing the IT sector in Legco, asked if new laws would be made to guard against 'cyber-squatters', who registered brand names in order to re-sell the rights. He believed some of the 1,500 names registered each month were cyber-squatters. Mrs Ting said the taskforce would study if action should be taken at the application stage. 'Some think cyber-squatting should be curbed while others think too much restriction hinders Internet growth. We will review and strike a balance,' she said. Recommendations are expected to be made in the first half of this year for public consultation.