Published April 4, 2011
According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), 2,696 cybersquatting cases covering 4,370 domain names were filed in 2010, a record number.
Cybersquatting is a term applied to number of scenarios, including where a party registers a domain name in "bad faith", knowing that it is infringing or negatively impacting on a legitimate trademark holder. An example of cybersquatting is a "typo" domain name registration where the name is a misspelling of a registered brand.
WIPO says the caseload for last year was an increase of 28% over the 2009 level and 16% over the previous record year; which was 2008. WIPO has seen over 20,000 UDRP-based cases covering approximately 35,000 domain names since it was set up in 1999. Its initial year was a busy one, with 1857 cases covering 3760 domains.
UDRP stands for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, which is the international standard for resolving domain name disputes outside the court system. Under the UDRP, a complainant needs to be able to demonstrate that domain name being disputed is identical or confusingly similar to complainant's trademark, that the registrant in question has no right or legitimate interest in the domain name and that the party registered and used the domain name in bad faith.
The dispute process, which involves independent panelists, usually takes no more than two months. The dispute process is not free and fees associated with a domain name administrative proceeding range from USD$1500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the number of domain names involved and the number of panelists required.
The most common categories of domain names in WIPO cases are Retail, Banking and Finance, Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals and Internet and IT respectively.
WIPO is a specialized agency of the United Nations charged with the task of developing balanced and accessible international intellectual property (IP) systems.
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