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WIPO Prepares for Launch of New gTLDs

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

12 March 2012

While trademark holders filed a record number of cybersquatting cases with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), pre-emptive measures are being organized to prevent the abusive use of trademarks as generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

In 2011, trademark holders filed 2,764 cybersquatting cases covering 4,781 domain names with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre (WIPO Centre) under procedures based on the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), an increase of 2.5% and 9.4% over the previous highest levels in 2010 and 2009, respectively.

Meanwhile, with plans by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for an expansion in the number of gTLDs - from the current 22, which includes such familiar domains as .com, .org and .net - underway from January 12, 2012, the WIPO Centre is making available extensive resources for a new dispute procedure.

“These UDRP filing trends illustrate that even in today’s Domain Name System, brand owners already have to make difficult choices for their stretched online enforcement resources. With the domain name coordinating body, ICANN, allowing for a massive increase in the number of new domains, brand owners’ resources will likely be stretched further,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

Gurry noted that ICANN must make sure that its newly-created enforcement mechanisms can be an effective alternative for brand owners wishing to avoid court litigation. "If properly designed, alternative dispute resolution will be an increasingly important tool for enhancing business and user confidence in internet platforms,” he added.

Since the UDRP’s launch in December 1999, the WIPO Centre has received over 22,500 UDRP-based cases, covering some 40,500 domain names in both generic and country code top level domains. The expanding international reach of the internet is also reflected in the diversity of the domain name disputes filed with the WIPO Centre in 2011. Cases filed with WIPO during the year included complainants and respondents from 110 countries.

TAGS: business | trademarks | commerce | law | intellectual property | enforcement | internet | e-commerce | trade

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