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Popular ccTLDs for Domain Name Disputes

As I’ve written before, the registry operators for many country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) have adopted the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) or a variation of it, while other ccTLDs have crafted their own dispute policies, or none at all.

Although no ccTLD appears as frequently as .com in domain name disputes, it’s interesting to see which ccTLDs are subject to dispute the most often.

At the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which hears more domain name disputes than any service provider, the most popular ccTLD that shows up in decisions is .nl (Netherlands), followed by .au (Australia), and .es (Spain).

Here are the top 10 ccTLDs that have appeared in domain name disputes at WIPO through the years (the numbers in parentheses represent total disputed domain names, as of October 18, 2017):

  1. .nl (955)
  2. .au (780)
  3. .es (666)
  4. .ch (579)
  5. .co (509)
  6. .mx (461)
  7. .fr (373)
  8. .tv (306)
  9. .ro (187)
  10. .ir (161)

These numbers pale in comparison to the number of WIPO disputes for .com (49,219), .net (6,298), and .org (4,094)—and WIPO is not the only dispute provider for those, so the total numbers for these gTLDs are actually much greater.

Still, it’s interesting to consider why domain names in the 10 ccTLDs listed above have been disputed as often as they have. While there’s probably some correlation between the total number of domain name registrations and those that end up in dispute, I also think there are some other explanations:

  • Two of these ccTLDs—.co (Colombia) and .tv (Tuvalu)—have been marketed as attractive alternatives to .com and have adopted the UDRP, which may mean both that they have appealed to cybersquatters and that trademark owners are comfortable enforcing their rights against registrants.
  • The dispute policy for the .nl ccTLD allows a trademark owner to file a complaint without paying a fee (the fee is due only if a mandatory mediation period is unsuccessful), so trademark owners may find that model attractive.
  • The dispute policy for .au (Australia) is modeled on the UDRP but is more flexible for trademark owners because it requires only that they show a disputed domain name has been registered or is being used in bad faith (whereas the UDRP requires both).

Finally, it’s important to emphasize that this list only includes ccTLDs for which WIPO provides dispute services. Some ccTLD dispute policies are administered outside of WIPO, such as .uk (United Kingdom), which has been the subject of numerous disputes under the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) policy administered by Nominet; and .us (United States), which has been the subject of numerous disputes under the usTLD Dispute Resolution Policy administered by the Forum.

By Doug Isenberg, Attorney & Founder of The GigaLaw Firm

Learn more by visiting The GigaLaw Firm website. Doug Isenberg also maintains a blog here.

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