domain name disputes

Domain Name Cybersquatting Cases Up 4.6 % in 2015, Driven by New gTLDs

Cybersquatting disputes relating to new gTLDs accounted for 10.5% of WIPO’s UDRP caseload in 2015, which covered a total of 4,364 domain names.  Among these names, .XYZ, .CLUB and .EMAIL were the most common new gTLDs (Annex 1 PDF, Annex 1: All gTLDs (Ranking) in WIPO Cases: 2015).

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said:  “As brand owners face the possibility of further abuse of their trademarks in domains – both old and new – they continue to rely on WIPO’s cybersquatting dispute resolution procedures.  By combating opportunistic domain name registration practices, WIPO’s services help consumers to find authentic web content and enhance the reliability of the Domain Name System.”

Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) accounted for 13.7% of all filings with WIPO in 2015, with 71 national domain registries designating this WIPO dispute resolution service.

WIPO UDRP cases in 2015 involved parties from 113 countries.  The U.S., with 847 cases filed, was the first-ranked WIPO filing country, followed by France (337), Germany (272), the U.K. (229) and Switzerland (169). (Annex 2 PDF, Annex 2: Geographical Distribution of Parties in WIPO Domain Name Cases Top 25 (2015)) Among the top five users, Germany (+48.6%) saw the highest growth in cases filed.

The top three sectors of complainant activity were fashion (10% of all cases), banking and finance (9%), and Internet and IT (9%). (Annex 3 PDF, Annex 3: Areas of WIPO Domain Name Complainant Activity (2015)) Hugo Boss leads the list of filers – 62 cases – followed by Philip Morris (60) and AB Electrolux (48). (Annex 4 PDF, Annex 4: Top 10 WIPO Domain Name Case Filing Parties (2015); Sample of WIPO Domain Name Cases (2015)) 313 WIPO panelists from 45 countries were appointed in 2015, and proceedings were administered in 15 different languages.

The increase in new gTLD registrations in WIPO’s caseload is anticipated to continue, in particular as new gTLDs contested at Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) auction, such as “.SHOP”, are yet to launch.  Meanwhile, calls are being made for a next round of new gTLDs, particularly by brand owners, such as Twitter.  At the same time, ICANN has commenced a process to review Rights Protection Mechanisms such as the URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension system) and the UDRP.  As the UDRP initiator and leading administrator, WIPO takes a strong interest in these ICANN processes.

Since the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center administered the first UDRP case in 1999, total WIPO case filings passed the 33,000 mark in 2015, encompassing over 61,000 domain names (Annex 5 PDF, Annex 5: Total Number of WIPO Domain Name Cases and Domain Names by Year).

You can see all the annexes here.


About Konstantinos Zournas

I studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and I am now living in Athens, Greece. I went online in 1995, started coding in 1996 and began buying domain names and creating websites in 2000. I started the blog in 2012.

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