WIPO domain name cybersquatting cases reach new record in 2017 increasing by 1.3%. The total number of WIPO domain name cases were 3,074 in 2017 compared to 3,036 in 2016.
But just one or two complainants alone can cause such an increase of 38 complaints. For example Chatroulette filed 46 UDRP complaints in 2017 while in 2016 it filled only 4 complaints and Philip Morris filed 91 complaints in 2017 that was 24 more than last year.
Three industries – banking and finance, fashion, and internet and IT – accounted for nearly one-third of all cybersquatting disputes handled by WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center in 2017 under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). (Annexes 1 and 4)
Cybersquatting disputes relating to new generic Top-Level Domains (New gTLDs) accounted for more than 12% of WIPO’s 2017 caseload, which in total covered 6,370 domain names. Of all New gTLDs, registrations in .STORE, .SITE, and .ONLINE were the most-commonly disputed. (Annex 2). With the addition in 2017 of .EU (European Union) and .SE (Sweden), 76 Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) registries have now designated WIPO’s dispute resolution service, and ccTLDs accounted for some 17% of WIPO filings in 2017.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said: “By abusing trademarks in the Domain Name System, cybersquatting undermines legitimate commerce and harms consumers. This is true especially where squatters use domain names to offer counterfeit goods or for phishing, as is seen in numerous WIPO cases. The availability of the highly effective UDRP procedure is an indispensable support for the credibility of commerce on the Internet and for protection against fraudulent practices.”
The U.S. remained the country where most WIPO UDRP cases originated, with 920 cases filed in 2017, followed by France (462), the U.K. (276), Germany (222), and Switzerland (143). (Annex 3). In total, parties from 112 countries were involved in case filings in 2017. In 2017, WIPO appointed 298 panelists based in 45 countries, and administered proceedings in 15 different languages.
The top sectors of complainant activity were banking and finance (12% of all cases), fashion (11%), internet and IT (9%), heavy industry and machinery (8%), and food, beverages and restaurants, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, electronics, entertainment, and retail at 6% each. (Annex 4)
In almost one-third of banking and finance-related decided cases filed in 2017, complainants asserted fraud, phishing or scam, the highest rate among all business sectors. (Annex 5) In over one-third of fashion-related decided cases filed in 2017, complainants asserted counterfeiting, the second highest rate among all business sectors. (Annex 6)
Philip Morris leads the list of filers – 91 cases – followed by Michelin, AB Electrolux, Andrey Ternovskiy (Chatroulette), Sanofi, Zions Bank, Carrefour, Virgin, Accor, and BASF and LEGO. (Annex 7).
WIPO in 2017 launched an all-new edition of the WIPO Jurisprudential Overview. Covering over 100 topics, this essential WIPO case filing tool captures numerous developments in WIPO UDRP jurisprudence and the Domain Name System.
Since the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center administered the first UDRP case in 1999, total WIPO case filings passed the 39,000 mark in 2017, encompassing over 73,000 domain names. (Annex 1)
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