Monday, January 14, 2008

Domain name disputes hit all time high

Domain name disputes against cybersquatting are at an all-time high according to data collected by WIPO. I must admit that I found this information rather surprising, as it was my understanding that after an initial period of healthy dispute settlements using ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the number of disputes had been falling. According to WIPO's data, the statistics since 2000 are:

YearNumber of Cases

There's certainly a resurgence in the last three years. But why? WIPO is very efficient, and allows wider dissemination of the UDRP and its policies. WIPO's role as a dispute settlement provider assures that the UDRP will remain as one of the most successful examples of online dispute resolution in the world. However, the UDRP has often been accused of being pro-trade mark owner. For example, looking at WIPO's dispute outcome statistics per year, out of 11958 disputes, 65% have resulted in a favourable outcome for the complainant. If we consider that 22% of the disputes are dropped, only 11% complaints are dismissed. Granted, most of the defendants are cybersquatters, but one has to wonder about whether such a seemingly one-sided system can be sustained much longer. After all, losers can still initiate a dispute in their national courts.


Cédric said...

Dear Andres,

One can relate this rise to:
- the growth of typosquatting, which progressively replaces the 'traditional' cybersquatting
- the fact that some companies entered the online market only recently (and discovered they needed a name!)

Andres Guadamuz said...

Hello Cédric!

That sounds indeed very likely. Looking at the statistics further, there also seems to be a large increase in complaints from developing countries.