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WIPO Reports Record Number of Domain Disputes in 2007

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has received 2,156 complaints alleging "abusive registration of trademarks on the Internet" in 2007, up 18 percent from 2006 and 48 percent more than the filings lodged in 2005. Most complaints came from the pharmaceutical, banking, telecommunications, retail and entertainment sectors.

A quarter of cases were settled without a WIPO panel decision. Of the remainder, in 85 percent of cases the panels transferred the disputed domain names to the complainant, and in 15 percent the panel ordered no change of the site registration.

Read full story: Reuters

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Re: WIPO Reports Record Number of Domain Disputes in 2007 John Berryhill  –  Mar 28, 2008 4:05 PM PDT

It's interesting that WIPO does this every year - cites the number of complaints - but does not cite stats on the outcomes, nor do they compare the number of complaints to the number of domains registered.

In 2000, when the UDRP started, there were about 35 million .com domains, and about 1500 UDRP disputes at WIPO.  Now, there are more than 70 million .com domains, and the number of UDRP disputes has not doubled.  This is an indication of decreasing relative incidence, but you'll never hear WIPO admit that. 

Furthermore, the number of TLD's, including ccTLD's, which utilize the UDRP has increased.

Re: WIPO Reports Record Number of Domain Disputes in 2007 Enrico Schaefer  –  Apr 01, 2008 1:10 PM PDT

Compared to the total volume of domains registered by bad-faith cybersquatters (mostly typo-squatters), the number of complaints filed every year under the UDRP is very small. Most companies and individuals don't ever get to the point of filing a UDRP complaint. These statistics from WIPO are not particularly meaningful. Of course, all the headlines suggest that an increase in filings means that cybersquatting is on the rise.  You can not conclude that the volume of cybersquatting is up (or down for that matter) by the number of WIPO complaints filed under the UDRP. 

If you analyze any trademark protected high traffic web site, you will find there are dozens of typo-squatters. We have one client with over 100 blatant typosquatting sites by dozens of registrants infringing their registered marks. Most are institutional squatters.  Some are non-techies or college students who simply don't know any better.

Many companies don't know they are being squatted, or have no idea the extent of domains registered using variations of their trademarks. Other companies see the squatters as a nuisance, whose squatting does not justify the time and money necessary to shut them down. In many instances, the company or individual being squatted does not have the funds necessary to hire an attorney in the first instance.

I do think that the number of registrants who register known trademarks or famous names because they do not know it is unlawful (i.e. the ignorant cybersquatter) is decreasing.  There is much more information about cybersquatting available on the internet, which tends to keep people educated and out of harms way.

Re: WIPO Reports Record Number of Domain Disputes in 2007 John Berryhill  –  Apr 02, 2008 8:15 AM PDT

In many instances, the company or individual being squatted does not have the funds necessary to hire an attorney

...and if that company doesn't have a few thousand dollars to file a UDRP, how much can the cybersquatter be making from their mark?

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