The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center published its 2012 review on UDRP called “Internet Domain Name Dispute Resolution”.
In 2012, trademark holders filed a record 2,884 cybersquatting cases covering 5,084 Internet domain names with the WIPO Center under procedures based on the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). This represents an increase of 4.5% over the record established in 2011.
Since the UDRP’s launch in December 1999, the WIPO Center has received over 25,500 UDRP based cases, covering some 47,000 domain names in both generic and country code Top Level Domains (gTLDs, ccTLDs).
The international reach of Internet commerce is reflected in the diversity of the domain name disputes filed with the WIPO Center in 2012. Those cases include complainants and respondents from 120 countries, ten countries more than the 2011 WIPO caseload.
The 2012 caseload was decided by 341 WIPO panelists from 48 countries, with 13 different languages of proceedings, namely (in order of frequency) English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Turkish, Korean, Romanian, Italian, Russian, and Czech.
Among WIPO cases in 2012, ccTLDs accounted for almost 12% of filings, with 67 national domain registries now connected to WIPO domain name dispute resolution services. In 2012, the WIPO Center became a provider for the .TZ (Tanzania) and .PW (Palau) domain spaces.
The top three areas of complainant activity in 2012 were retail, fashion and banking and finance. The caseload featured many well-known names from business as well as public interest sectors. Of the gTLD cases filed with WIPO in 2012, three quarters (74.8%) concerned registrations in the .com domain. The increased filings related to fashion and luxury brands reflect in part a growth in the number of cases filed by brand owners alleging counterfeiting via the web pages offered under the disputed domain name.
Parties settled around one out of five WIPO cases before reaching panel decision. Applying UDRP jurisprudence, WIPO panels in 2012 found evidence of cybersquatting in 91% of all decided cases.
Parties to cybersquatting disputes filed with WIPO took advantage of user-friendly online facilities such as the paperless eUDRP, the Legal Index of WIPO UDRP Decisions, and the Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions to assist their case preparation and submission.
Background on the UDRP
The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which was proposed by WIPO in 1999 and has become accepted as an international standard for resolving domain name disputes outside the courts, is designed specifically to discourage and resolve the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names, commonly known as cybersquatting. 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 uses the domain name in bad faith.
Disputes are decided by independent panelists drawn from the WIPO Center’s global list of trademark specialists. The domain name registration in question is frozen (suspended) during the proceedings. After reviewing a case, panelists submit their decision within a period of 14 days. If a panelist’s decision to transfer a domain name is not challenged in a competent court within a period of ten business days, the registrar is legally bound to implement the panelist’s decision. The entire case normally takes no more than about two months.
The WIPO Center is the leading global provider of domain name dispute resolution services and provides a range of resources for users and the general public. An illustration of these resources is the freely available WIPO jurisprudential Overview, which provides a distillation of panel findings in the thousands of domain name cases filed with WIPO. Parties, counsel and others around the world use this unique WIPO tool to find their bearings in the growing cybersquatting jurisprudence.