The number of disputes decided under the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) remained almost unchanged in 2018, despite a relative surge in the number of domain names registered in the new gTLDs to which the policy applies.
By comparison, as I previously reported, the number of disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) increased last year to the highest levels ever.
The data indicate that the URS remains a very unpopular dispute policy (as I first noted years ago) and that the UDRP is still the preferred choice for most trademark owners.
At the Forum, where most URS complaints are filed, 152 determinations were issued last year, up only four cases from 148 in 2017. Similarly, the Italian dispute provider MFSD also saw an increase of four URS cases, from five to nine. The Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre again did not publish any URS determinations in 2018.
Therefore, the total number of URS cases in 2018 appears to be 161, a 5 percent increase from 153 cases in 2017, but the second least-active year for the URS since the first determinations for new gTLDs were published in 2014:
Although the URS only applies to new gTLDs (and a handful of other TLDs), the modest increase in dispute activity did not correspond to the tremendous increase in the total number of applicable domain name registrations. The number of new gTLD registrations increased to 26.5 million at the end of 2018 from only 3.7 million at the end of 2017.
The lack of URS filings is likely an indication of the policy’s limitations. Among other things, the URS only allows a trademark owner to temporarily suspend a domain name (whereas the UDRP allows a trademark owner to obtain the transfer of a domain name).
Also, trademark owners simply may be less concerned about domain names registered in the new gTLDs — although new gTLDs are accounting for more domain name disputes under the UDRP, which saw an increase of about 14 percent in 2018 at both WIPO and the Forum, to about 5,000 decisions.
Interestingly, just two trademark owners — Bloomberg and Lufthansa — together accounted for nearly one-quarter of the URS determinations at the Forum last year, which means that the policy was utilized by a fairly small number of trademark owners worldwide.
Regardless of the explanation, it’s clear that the URS — even after five years — is just not a domain name dispute policy that many trademark owners are eager to invoke. Instead, the UDRP remains the obvious choice.