WIPO: Complaints Alleging Cybersquatting Increased in 2007

Wipo recently released that by Last year,a record 2,156 complaints allcybersquatting -eging  or the abusive registration of trademarks on the Internet - were filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center (Center), representing an 18% increase over 2006.

Since the launch of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) in December 1999 through December 2007, 12,334 UDRP or UDRP-based cases (gTLDs and ccTLDs) have been filed with the Center, covering 22,301 separate domain names. The number of respondent countries grow rapidly from 72 in the year 2000 to 96 in 2007. In 2007 English remained the most common language for WIPO case proceedings (89.09%). The .com gTLD also remained the solid leader in terms of the number of domain names included by complainants in cases filed with WIPO (73.62%),and the number of disputed ccTLD domain names has been increasing over the years, having moved from less than 1% in the year 2000 to over 7% in 2007. The top five sectors for complainant business activity were Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Banking and Finance, Internet and IT, Retail, and Entertainment.

"These increases confirm that 'cybersquatting' remains a significant issue for rights holders," said Mr. Francis Gurry, WIPO Deputy Director General, who oversees WIPO's dispute resolution work.

As for case outcomes, WIPO parties have settled a quarter of all cases without a panel decision. Of the remainder, 85% of panel decisions have ordered transfer of the domain names in question to the complainant and 15% of the complaints were denied, leaving the names in the possession of the registration holder.

The UDRP, which was proposed by WIPO in 1999 and has become accepted as an international standard for resolving domain name disputes, is designed specifically to discourage and resolve the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names. Under the UDRP, a complainant must demonstrate that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark, that the respondent does not have a right or legitimate interest in the domain name and that the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith.