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WIPO Reports Rise in Cybersquatting Cases, Triggered by New gTLDs

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and Director of WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center Erik Wilbers discussing WIPO domain name dispute resolution cases in 2015 during a press conference at the United Nations Office in Geneva.According to the latest report from The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), trademark owners filed 2,754 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with the agency in 2015 — an increase of 4.6 % over the previous year. The cybersquatting disputes related to new gTLDs accounted for 10.5% of UDRP caseload in 2015, WIPO reports, covering a total of 4,364 domain names. Among these names, .XYZ, .CLUB and .EMAIL are named as the most common new gTLDs.

Additional highlight from 2015 include:

Top 5 Areas of Commerce – Number of domain name cases filed and percentage of filing (Source: WIPO)• Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) accounted for 13.7% of all filings with WIPO in 2015, with 71 national domain registries designating this WIPO dispute resolution service.

• WIPO UDRP cases in 2015 involved parties from 113 countries. The U.S., with 847 cases filed, was the first-ranked WIPO filing country, followed by France (337), Germany (272), the U.K. (229) and Switzerland (169). Among the top five users, Germany (+48.6%) saw the highest growth in cases filed.

• The top three sectors of complainant activity were fashion (10% of all cases), banking and finance (9%), and Internet and IT (9%). Hugo Boss leads the list of filers — 62 cases — followed by Philip Morris (60) and AB Electrolux (48). 313 WIPO panelists from 45 countries were appointed in 2015, and proceedings were administered in 15 different languages.

WIPO notes that the increase in new gTLD registrations in WIPO's caseload is anticipated to continue, in particular as new gTLDs contested at Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) auction, such as ".SHOP", are yet to launch. "Meanwhile, calls are being made for a next round of new gTLDs, particularly by brand owners, such as Twitter."

Related topics: Cybersquatting, Domain Names, Intellectual Property, Top-Level Domains, UDRP


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This story misses the bigger picture. Mason Cole  –  Mar 25, 2016 10:11 AM PDT

This story misses the bigger picture.  2,754 UDRP cases is up compared to 2014, but it’s down compared to 2012 (2,884 cases) and 2011 (2,764 cases) – when new TLDs hadn’t launched.

While it is unpleasant that cybersquatting takes place in the digital world, new TLDs are in no way more prone to infringement or abusive behavior than their legacy counterparts. In fact, new TLDs are built with a suite of protections that are not available in legacy domains, including Uniform Rapid Suspension, a takedown service only required and available in new TLDs. In addition, the entire new TLD community is working together to create industry standards via the Domain Name Association’s Healthy Domains Initiative.

By reading the headline of this article, you wouldn’t realize that although new TLD registrations more than tripled during 2015, overall UDRP cases are still down compared to the two years before new TLDs became available.

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