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Latest Cybersquatting Stats from WIPO

According to latest reports from the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), allegations of cybersquatting by trademark holders continued to rise in 2008, with a record 2,329 complaints filed under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). This represented an 8% increase over 2007 in the number of generic and country code Top Level Domain (gTLDs and ccTLDs) disputes handled and brings the total number of WIPO cases filed under the UDRP since it was launched ten years ago to over 14,000. To improve efficiency and respond to growing demand, WIPO has proposed an “eUDRP Initiative” [PDF] to render the UDRP paperless.

Countries Involved

Since the launch of the UDRP in December 1999 through December 2008, the WIPO Center has received 14,663 UDRP or UDRP-based cases—both gTLDs and ccTLDs—covering 26,262 separate domain names. US, France, UK, Germany, Switzerland and Spain were the most frequent bases for complainants, while the US, the UK, China, Spain, Canada, and France were the most represented countries by named respondent party.

English was the most common language for WIPO case proceedings (86%) in 2008 as the majority of domain names involved were registered with US-based registrars. Cases were also processed in 12 other languages, including (in order of frequency) Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Romanian, Russian, Hebrew and Portuguese. The character set of the disputed domain names themselves remained overwhelmingly ASCII (English alphabet), with a small number of names in Chinese, French, Hebrew, Spanish, and Swedish.

Generic TLDs Involved

The .com gTLD remained the solid leader in terms of the number of domain names included by complainants in cases filed with WIPO (79%).

Sectors Involved

According to data from WIPO, in 2008 cases covered a wide variety of sectors, reflecting prevailing public interest, business activity and upcoming events (e.g., Singapore Flyer observation wheel, Madrid 2016 Olympic bid, Montreal Jazz Festival, Golden Globes); transportation (e.g., Air France, Austrian Airlines, BMW, Lufthansa, Southwest Airlines, Subaru); hotels (e.g., Taj Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, The Sheraton/Westin Hotels); media and publishing (e.g., the BBC, Edmonton Journal, National Geographic, Harvard University Press); educational institutions (e.g., The John Hopkins University, Sydney University, Yale University, TOEFL); computers and electronics (e.g., Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, computer manufacturer Gateway, Samsung); sports teams, leagues and personalities (e.g., English Premier League, the Arsenal Football Club, as well as its player Cesc Fàbregas, yachting’s Volvo Ocean Race, former basketball star Dennis Rodman, Adidas); actors and personalities past (e.g., Ian Fleming, Gene Kelly) and present (e.g., Scarlett Johansson); fashion (e.g., Christian Dior, Lancôme); popular culture (e.g., Barbapapa, Bob the Builder, Marvel Comics’ Xmen); numerical identifiers (e.g., 4711); and other familiar enterprises and groups such as Breitling, Canada Post, Coca-Cola, Ebay, Ghirardelli Chocolate, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Google, Hard Rock Café, LEGO, Nestlé, Ticketmaster, and Western Union. A case was also filed by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in relation to the Monticello estate.

The top five sectors for complainant business activity were biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, Internet and IT, retail, and food, beverages and restaurants.

WIPO’s complete announcement can be found here.

Updates:  UPDATED Mar 18, 2009 6:16 PM PDT
WIPO Cybersquatting Report Ignores Real UDRP Trends Antony Van Couvering, Mar.18.2009
WIPO's Misleading Release Michael Geist, Mar.17.2009
Record Cybersquatting Cases As WIPO Seeks New Trademark Protections IP Watch, Mar.16.2009
Record cases of 'cybersquatting' in 2008: UN Reuters, Mar.16.2009
UN warns on new web domains FT, Mar.16.2009

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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Regarding S. Johansson "actress" Anonymous Coward  –  Mar 17, 2009 2:01 AM

Scarlett Johansson “actress"actually is a clone from original person,who has nothing with acting career.Clone was created illegally using stolen biomaterial.Original Scarlett Galabekian last name is nice, CHRISTIAN young lady.

Number of UDRP cases actually decreased as percent of names Paul Stahura  –  Mar 17, 2009 5:27 PM

According to VeriSign’s industry brief there were approximately 150M names registered in Q4 2007, and 175M in Q4 2008.  That’s a 16% growth. So the number of UDRP cases per registration actually decreased because the number of registrations increased faster than the number of WIPO UDRP cases reported here. 
Also the absolute number of National Arbitration Forum cases decreased:
Total Number of Cases:
WIPO 2007 =  2,156
WIPO 2008 =  2,329
NAF 2007 = 1,805
NAF 2008 = 1,770
So taken together it’s a mere 3.4% increase in the absolute total number of UDRP cases in 2008 (4099 total) over 2007 (3961 total), not 8%, resulting in an even larger decrease as a percent of total registrations.
The total number of UDRP cases as a percent of names currently registered is 0.0023%. One in 42,693 registered names was disputed in 2008 vs 1 in 37,869 in 2007.
A relatively very small proportion of names is subject to dispute.

It’s interesting that there are more WIPO UDRPs than NAF UDRPs even thought WIPO UDRPs cost more.  It appears that complainants prefer WIPO which may explain why their numbers are increasing and NAF numbers are decreasing.

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