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WIPO cybersquatting cases hit record in 2016

WIPO cybersquatting cases hit record in 2016

KARACHI: Trademark owners filed an all-time record 3,036 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with WIPO in 2016.

According to a WIPO report received here on Thursday this was a 10% increase over the previous year, with over 1,200 new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) now operational.

Cybersquatting disputes relating to new gTLDs rose to 16% of WIPO’s 2016 caseload, which covered a total of 5,374 domain names. Among these, .XYZ, .TOP and .CLUB were the most common new gTLDs in dispute.

WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry was quoted to have said that the continuing growth in cybersquatting cases worldwide shows the need for continued vigilance by trademark owners and consumers alike.

This is even more important as a considerable number of these disputes involve incidents of online counterfeiting, he said mentioning that in such cases, WIPO assists in restoring these domain names to trademark owners, thereby curbing consumer deception. Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) accounted for some 14% of WIPO filings, with 74 national domain registries designating this WIPO dispute resolution service. WIPO UDRP cases in 2016 involved parties from 109 countries. US, with 895 cases filed, remained first, among the countries where filings originated followed by France (466), Germany (273), the U.K. (237) and Switzerland (180).

Among the top five filing countries, France (+38%) saw the highest growth in cases filed.

The top sectors of complainant activity were banking and finance (12% of all cases), fashion (9%), heavy industry and machinery (9%), internet and IT (8%), biotechnology and pharmaceuticals (7%) and retail (7%).

Philip Morris leads the list of filers (67 cases) followed by AB Electrolux (51) and Hugo Boss, LEGO, and Michelin (42 each). (Annex 4).

In 2016 WIPO appointed 305 panelists from 47 countries, and administered proceedings in 15 different languages. Since the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center administered the first UDRP case in 1999, total WIPO case filings passed the 36,000 mark in 2016, encompassing over 66,000 domain names.

Patent-related disputes (34%) were most common among the 60 mediation and arbitration cases received by the WIPO Center for different types of intellectual property disputes in 2016.

ICT (20.5%), Copyright (13.6%), and Trademark (13.6%) disputes followed, as well as others arising from distribution and franchising agreements, industrial design, and art and cultural heritage.

WIPO mediation was the most requested procedure, followed by arbitration, and expedited arbitration.

These IP ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) cases filed in 2016 concerned parties from 19 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.—APP

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