WIPO Report Confirms Record Year for Domain Name Disputes

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has just released its annual report on cybersquatting, confirming my earlier post that a record number of domain name disputes were filed in 2017.

According to the WIPO report, "trademark owners filed an all-time high of 3,074 WIPO cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)" in 2017. An infographic (PDF) released by WIPO says the filings represent an increase of 1.3 percent.

Interestingly, the WIPO report indicates that new gTLDs represented a smaller share of domain name disputes than in the previous year, dropping from 16 percent in 2016 to only 12 percent in 2017. Not surprisingly, .com remained the most frequently disputed TLD, representing 70.23 percent (PDF) of all domain names in WIPO cases.

Other highlights from WIPO's report:

  • The most active filers of domain name disputes (PDF) were Philip Morris (91 cases), followed by Michelin (56 cases), AB Electrolux (51 cases), Andrey Ternovskiy (Chatroulette) (46 cases), and Sanofi (36 cases).
  • The industries most represented by trademark owners in domain name disputes (PDF) were banking and finance (12% of all cases); fashion (11%); Internet and IT (9%); heavy industry and machinery (8%); and food, beverages and restaurants (6%).
  • Most complainants in domain name disputes came from (PDF) the United States (920 cases), an increase of 2.9 percent, while the Russian Federation saw the largest percentage increase in filings with 51 cases, a spike of 537.5 percent.

The WIPO report doesn't offer any insights into why a record number of domain name disputes were filed in 2017, but the numbers continue a trend in recent years, with filings on the rise since 2013.

As I always note when discussing domain name dispute data, the numbers from WIPO represent only a portion of the total number of domain name disputes. Although WIPO traditionally has been the most active provider of UDRP and other domain name dispute services, it isn't the only provider -- just the only one that publishes real-time statistics and a consistent annual report on its filings.

The Forum (formerly the National Arbitration Forum) appears to have published 1,637 domain name dispute decisions in 2017, which seems to be an increase of 13.6 percent from the previous year.