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How Rampant is Cyber & Typo Squatting? Just Ask WIPO After Reviewing Wipo.com!

Enrico Schaefer

How prevalent is cybersquatting and typosquatting? Take a look at www.wipo.com, and then compare it with the World Intellectual Property Organization's web site www.wipo.org. Ironically, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center handles a majority of the UDRP domain dispute arbitrations internationally. The very organization which is invested with the authority by ICANN to resolve cybersquatting and typosquatting disputes internationally under the UDRP is, by all appearances, being squatted.

Here are two apparent typosquatters who also appear to infringing on WIPO's domain name:

Both of the above web sites are attempting to divert direct navigation typographical errors seeking WIPO to their own web sites.

It is hard to imagine that anyone has superior trademark rights to WIPO, as DomainTools.com shows registration for the domain was created: 1993-07-16. Interestingly, WIPO only recently filed a US trademark application for both the logo design and words "WIPO" with the USPTO as show here [PDF]. It is interesting that the registration remains incomplete and took so long to file. Regardless, WIPO must have foreign registration and common law trademark rights.

If WIPO could successfully establish trademark rights, a UDRP decision in their favor should be a slam dunk. Of course, they would have to file with NAF because of the conflict of interest. We can only assume that NAF would overlook the fact that they compete with WIPO in providing arbitration services. :-)

You would think an arbitration authority specializing in global trademark protection issues would at least post its trademark notices and registration on its web site. Not so. There are no trademark notices on WIPOs web site and they don't even use the circle R symbol to denote their registration.

You can follow the story and the comments to this interesting typosquatting story at Traverse Legal's Cybersquatting blog at this thread on the WIPO Domain Name Dipute here.

By Enrico Schaefer, Attorney & Advisor: Protecting International Business Interests
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Re: How Rampant is Cyber & Typo Squatting? Just Ask WIPO After Reviewing Wipo.com! Daniel R. Tobias  –  Jan 01, 2008 11:13 AM PDT

Their primary address is actually at www.wipo.int, a domain that's harder to cybersquat on since .int is more tightly controlled than most TLDs.

Re: How Rampant is Cyber & Typo Squatting? Just Ask WIPO After Reviewing Wipo.com! Enrico Schaefer  –  Jan 07, 2008 8:34 AM PDT

Ah yes, there are many extensions for any domain. But anyone who registers and extension of a brand, company name or domain name with the specific intent to divert traffic is in fact a cybersquatter. The typos noted above are certainly cybersquatters. Their clear intent was to divert direct navigation traffic. The wipo.com domain also appears to be a clear cybersquatter given that the links on that site are 'trademark' links, the exact same area of expertise offered by WIPO. If wipo.com contained links for a new windshield wipe cloth, then they could argue that is a legitimate use. The bad faith intent of the infringer is found in the content (ie links) on the infringing page. The links don't lie....

For a good synopsis of typosquatting, read the McAfee Typosquatting Report here.

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