Is the URS Dying?

By Doug Isenberg
Doug Isenberg

The much-maligned Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) is not only failing to catch on — it's actually starting to fade.

Once envisioned as a popular rights-protection mechanism for trademark owners under the new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs), the URS instead is seldom used. In fact, despite the growth in new gTLD registrations, the URS is in decline.

As the chart below clearly shows, the number of URS complaints filed at the Forum (formerly the National Arbitration Forum) — the most popular URS service provider — dropped 13% last year, from 242 complaints in 2014 to 211 complaints in 2015. (The total number of disputed domain names in those URS complaints effectively remained unchanged, from 258 to 257.)

At the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre, the story is even more dramatic, with only 7 URS complaints decided in 2015 — a 59% dip from the 17 URS determinations in 2014.

And, when you consider that the total number of domain names registered under the new gTLDs actually increased 200% from the end of 2014 to the end of 2015, the decline in URS activity is especially significant. Said another way: In 2014, one in every 14,326 new gTLD registrations was subject to a URS complaint, but in 2015 the ratio dropped to only one in 51,378.

While it might be tempting to think that the paltry number of URS complaints being filed is an indication that cybersquatting is becoming less rampant, the overall number of domain name disputes tells a different story, given the 4.5% spike in cases at WIPO and a 23.9% increase in the total number of disputed domain names at the Forum last year.

So, why is the URS so unpopular?

As I've written before, the reasons are many:

Still, the URS is a good option for trademark owners under certain circumstances, but if the current trend is any indication, the UDRP will remain the preferred domain name dispute policy.

By Doug Isenberg, Attorney & Founder of The GigaLaw Firm. Learn more by visiting The GigaLaw Firm website. Doug Isenberg also maintains a blog here.

Related topics: Domain Management, Domain Names, New TLDs, UDRP

Comments