WIPO Continues Efforts to Stamp Out Cybersquatting|
Posted on Wednesday, March 03 @ 18:32:06 CET by eglobal
A Colleague writes "Efforts by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to combat the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names, or cybersquatting, made significant headway in 2003 although the problem persists most notably for high-value brands around the world. Since the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) went into effect in December 1999, through 2003, WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center has handled some 6,000 disputes, covering 10,000 domain names. Buy
"While daily filings with WIPO are less now than in the early days of the UDRP, we need to continue our efforts to ensure that the rights of legitimate trademark owners are not diluted," said Mr. Francis Gurry, Deputy Director General of WIPO, who oversees the work of the Center. "Reducing the practice of cybersquatting is an important element in enabling the Internet to develop as a secure and reliable environment which inspires confidence on the part of the ever-growing number of Internet users," he observed. "The fact that over 80 percent of the WIPO expert decisions went in favor of the trademark holder, be it a large multinational corporation or a small or medium-sized business, underlines the bad faith inherent in this practice," Mr. Gurry further noted.
In 2003, the Center received 1,100 UDRP cases, averaging 3 cases per calendar day, similar to the daily filing rate during the previous year. While this is clearly an improvement compared to the 5 daily filings the Center received in the early days of the UDRP, it remains significant.
In addition to famous brands (recent WIPO cases include the domain names pepsi-smash.com, calvinklein-watches.com, rolexgroup.com), celebrities continue to be targeted by cybersquatters. Often their winning cases were based on common law rights in their names rather than on a registered trademark. In 2003, the Center received cases relating to movies, authors and books (jrrtolkien.com, thecatinthehat.com), pop stars (nsyncfilm.com, utadahikaru.com), television shows (oscartv.com, operaciontriunfo.tv), and movie stars (piercebrosnan.com, victoriarowell.com). Sports personalities (terrellowens.com) and sporting events (torino2006.net, madrid2012.org) were also the target of cybersquatters.
Companies involved in recent or prospective mergers also fell prey to cybersquatters. The Center has recently dealt with cases involving domain names such as yellowroadway.com, japanairgases.com, konicaminolta.net, astrazenica.com, which were all newly created following recent or predicted mergers.
The UDRP, which was proposed by WIPO and accepted as an international standard for resolving domain name disputes, is designed specifically to discourage and resolve the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names. Under the UDRP, which became effective in December 1999, a complainant must demonstrate that the disputed domain is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark, that the respondent does not have a right or legitimate interest in the domain name and that the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith.
A few facts
• In 2003 the Center dealt with 56 cases involving country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), a 40 percent increase over the previous year. Cases dealt with by the Center have included the domain names bodyshop.as, nutella.bz, amazon.com.cy and yahoo.ph. The Center now provides services for disputes in 36 ccTLDs, including .au (Australia), .mx (Mexico) and .nl (Netherlands). The Center was further designated to provide services under a new dispute resolution procedure which is to apply to the Swiss .ch domain as of March 1, 2004.
• The Center’s experts are frequently called upon to decide cases that involve high-value brands. The WIPO Center so far has resolved cases involving 66 of the 100 largest brands by value, including 7 of the top 10 such brands (Interbrand Brand survey 2003).
• The Center’s services are multinational and multilingual. So far, parties to WIPO UDRP disputes have come from 116 different countries. In 2003, the Center added three languages (Dutch, Italian and Russian) to the nine case languages it has used to date, namely, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese and Spanish. Domain names themselves may also be presented in different scripts, such as Chinese, Cyrillic or Korean. The Center has handled 36 such "multilingual name" disputes so far, with further growth expected.
• All domain name decisions handled by the Center are fully indexed and published on the Center’s web site (http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/search/index.html).
• In addition to its domain name activities, the WIPO Center is increasingly called upon to provide arbitration and mediation services for all types of intellectual property disputes, such as disputes involving patent, trademark or copyright licensing. For this purpose, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center makes available model arbitration and mediation clauses which can be downloaded from its web site at "http://arbiter.wipo.int/arbitration/contract-clauses/index.html".
For further information about all the activities of the Center, please visit the Center’s web site at "http://arbiter.wipo.int"
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