Managing IP reported today that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has published its Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) statistics for 2011, and cybersquatting enforcement appears to be on the rise. WIPO received 2,764 UDRP Complaints over 4,781 domain names last year, which marks a 2.5 percent increase over 2010.
The retail industry led the Complaint charge, with the Internet and IT; biotechnology an pharmaceuticals; fashion; and banking and finance industries rounding out the top five.
WIPO’s director-general, Francis Gurry, pointed out to Managing IP that brand owners are already faced with the difficult task of using limited resources to combat infringements, which appear to be growing: WIPO Panelists determined that cybersquatting had occurred in 88 percent of all Complaints filed in 2011. Gurry warned that this task will become even more difficult with the introduction of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), as the size of the domain name space will increase, but brands’ enforcement budgets may not.
WIPO has been a lead proponent and one of the architects of some of the dispute resolution procedures that will be available to trademark owners during the rollout of new gTLDs to help them combat or even prevent cybersquatting at the second level. Although there have been certain rights protections mechanisms put into place in the New gTLD Program, many brand owners are still concerned about the amount of time and resources they will need to devote to protecting their brands from infringements in the newly expanded domain name space.