April 1, 2013
Trademark holders filed a record number of cybersquatting cases with the WIPO Center under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) last year.
A United Nation agency, part of the World Intellectual Property Organization's function is to arbitrate and mediate domain name disputes; often seen as a quicker and cheaper alternative to a case going to court.
In 2012, 2,884 cybersquatting cases in relation to 5,084 Internet domain were filed with WIPO, an increase of 4.5% over the record established in 2011.
Since the UDRP was introduced in late 1999, WIPO says it has received over 25,500 cases, covering approximately 47,000 generic top level domain names (gTLD's) and country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs).
ccTLDs accounted for almost 12% of filings during last year. Nearly three-quarters were concerned with registrations in the .COM name space.
20% of cases destined for WIPO were settled before a panel decision was reached. For those that went the whole nine-yards, 91% of cases were found to show evidence of cybersquatting.
WIPO says the top three areas of complainant activity during last year were in relation to domain names associated with the retail, fashion and banking and finance sectors.
For domain name statistic aficionados, WIPO offers comprehensive database case and general statistics search facilities; available here.
For Australian trademark holders who feel their marks have been infringed upon by the registrant of a particular domain, or those seeking to register a domain name that has been taken by a party who may not be entitled to it, the first step is to consult the Australian equivalent of the UDRP, the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP).
While taking a case to WIPO may be cheaper than a court case, it is still expensive; particularly for small business. The cost associated with any domain name dispute heard by WIPO starts at $USD 1,500.
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