Trademark owners, in 2017, filed an all-time high of 3,074 WIPO cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center, has reported.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) defines cybersquatting as generally bad faith registration of another’s trademark in a domain name.
Three Industries are most notorious
A release by WIPO on Wednesday obtained by TechEconomy.ng shows that three industries – banking and finance, fashion, and internet and IT – accounted for nearly one-third of all cybersquatting disputes handled by the arbitration and mediation centre.
Cybersquatting disputes relating to new generic Top-Level Domains (New gTLDs), the report indicates, accounted for more than 12% of WIPO’s 2017 caseload, which in total covered 6,370 domain names. Of all New gTLDs, registrations in .STORE, .SITE, and .ONLINE were the most-commonly disputed.
With the addition in 2017 of .EU (European Union) and .SE (Sweden), 76 Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) registries have now designated WIPO’s dispute resolution service, and ccTLDs accounted for some 17% of WIPO filings in 2017.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said: “By abusing trademarks in the Domain Name System, cybersquatting undermines legitimate commerce and harms consumers.
This is true especially where squatters use domain names to offer counterfeit goods or for phishing, as is seen in numerous WIPO cases.
“The availability of the highly effective UDRP procedure is an indispensable support for the credibility of commerce on the Internet and for protection against fraudulent practices.”
Who filed the most domain name cases
The U.S. remained the country where most WIPO UDRP cases originated, with 920 cases filed in 2017, followed by France (462), the U.K. (276), Germany (222), and Switzerland (143).
In total, parties from 112 countries were involved in case filings in 2017.
In 2017, WIPO appointed 298 panelists based in 45 countries, and administered proceedings in 15 different languages.
The top sectors of complainant activity were banking and finance (12% of all cases), fashion (11%), internet and IT (9%), heavy industry and machinery (8%), and food, beverages and restaurants, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, electronics, entertainment, and retail at 6% each.
In almost one-third of banking and finance-related decided cases filed in 2017, complainants asserted fraud, phishing or scam, the highest rate among all business sectors.
In over one-third of fashion-related decided cases filed in 2017, complainants asserted counterfeiting, the second highest rate among all business sectors.
Philip Morris leads the list of filers – 91 cases – followed by Michelin, AB Electrolux, Andrey Ternovskiy (Chatroulette), Sanofi, Zions Bank, Carrefour, Virgin, Accor, and BASF and LEGO.
WIPO in 2017 launched an all-new edition of the WIPO Jurisprudential Overview.
Covering over 100 topics, this essential WIPO case filing tool captures numerous developments in WIPO UDRP jurisprudence and the Domain Name System.
Since the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center administered the first UDRP case in 1999, total WIPO case filings passed the 39,000 mark in 2017, encompassing over 73,000 domain names.
If someone registered a domain name in a generic top-level domain (gTLD) operating under contract with ICANN similar to your trademark, you may be able to file a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceeding.