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The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) just released its domain dispute filing data for 2010.  The results show that trademark holders filed 2,696 cybersquatting/typosquatting cases that included 4,370 domain names with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (WIPO Center).  The number of cases represent an increase of 28% over the 2009 level and of 16% over the previous record year for filings, 2008.  This growth trend indicates that brand owners are becoming more aware of the harmful effects caused by online trademark infringement including consumer confusion, inflated keyword budgets and lost revenue.

Since the UDRP’s launch in December 1999, the WIPO Center has received over 20,000 UDRP Cases, involving 35,000 domain names.  WIPO arbitrates domain disputes for both generic and country code Top Level Domains (gTLDs and ccTLDs).  Domain dispute cases filed with WIPO in 2010 included parties from 57 countries.

Interestingly, in 91% of cases, panels found evidence that domains were registered and being used in bad faith, thus deciding in favor of complainants.    The top five vertical markets for WIPO complainant activity were the retail, banking and finance, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, Internet and IT, and fashion sectors.  While a majority of the cases (82%) related to registrations in the .com domain extension, domain disputes over country code Top Level Domains rose to 15% of all cases in 2010.

If your business is being damaged by cybersquatters infringing on your trademarks by diverting web traffic to pay per click ads sites, committing affiliate fraud, selling counterfeit goods or redirecting domains with your brands to your competitors, please contact Safenames to discuss your legal options.  Safenames legal team has experience filing UDRPs for both gTLDs (.COM/.NET/.ORG) and most ccTLDs including CO.UK, .SE and COM.AU.

If you would like to discuss filing a UDRP or online brand enforcement strategies and online brand monitoring for your trademarks, please contact your Safenames account manager.

If you are not currently a customer, you may also contact the the Safenames US office at +1.703.574.5313 and [email protected], or the Safenames UK office at +44 1908 200022 and [email protected] to discuss how we can help.