Comparing and Contrasting Domain Name Statistics at the Forum and WIPO

The Forum (formerly known as the National Arbitration Forum) recently released some statistics on its 2014 caseload for domain name disputes, and the data provides some interesting insights.

The Forum's news release states that the domain name dispute provider handled 1,836 cases last year under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), involving 3,174 domain names. That averages out to 1.73 domain names per complaint.

By contrast, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) -- which released its statistics six months earlier -- remained the most active provider of UDRP services, handling 2,634 cases with a total of 5,591 domain names (or, 1.76 domain names per complaint).

Without providing data on the previous year, the Forum's news release states that the number of domain name filings was "steady" in 2014. In its recent Report of the Director General to the WIPO Assemblies, WIPO said it saw an increase of 2% in "cybersquatting case filings" last year (although it is unclear whether that increase applies only to the UDRP or also to all of the domain name dispute policies administered by WIPO, which includes services for many country-code top-level domains, or ccTLDs).

The Forum reported that trademark owners prevailed in UDRP disputes "92% of the time," which presumably takes into account cancellations as well as transfers. The Forum notes that this number rose from 88% the previous year.

WIPO provides more detailed reporting on case outcomes, but looking only at those that resulted in a full transfer, cancellation or denial, it appears as if complainants prevailed in 90.16% of the reported domain name disputes at WIPO.

The bottom line appears to be that WIPO again handled the largest number of UDRP complaints in 2014 but that the average number of domain names per complaint and the outcome remains about the same at these two largest domain name dispute providers -- with a "steady" or slight increase over the previous year.

Of course, we are already nearing the end of 2015, so it will be quite interesting to study the current year's domain name data as well, which will include a significantly higher number of disputes involving new gTLDs, as well as more filings under the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (which generally applies only to the new gTLDs).

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