Over 25,000 domain name cases handled by WIPO


The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has announced that its Arbitration and Mediation Centre has handled over 25,000 domain name disputes. Since its inception in 1999, the centre has resolved disputes under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and various other policies.

Following the launch of its dispute resolution services in December 1999, 9,567 UDRP or UDRP-based cases (covering both generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs)) have been filed with WIPO (up to and including August 2006). These cases relate to 17,912 separate domain names and involve parties from 136 countries. In the 7,011 decisions rendered, WIPO panels have found for the complainant in 5,842 (84%) cases and for the respondent in 1,112 cases (16%). The remainder of the resolved cases were settled by the parties.

The number of cases rises to 25,085 when the various dispute resolution policies that were effective during the sunrise (launch) periods of various new gTLDs are taken into account. Such dispute resolution policies were designed to deal with problems generated by the initial introduction of gTLDs such as '.info', '.biz', '.name' and '.mobi'. As these policies were applicable for a limited time, the cases were received on a non-recurring, one-off basis. In particular, WIPO dealt with 13,593 cases in relation to the launch of '.info' in 2002.

Of the 9,567 UDRP and UDRP-based disputes concerned, '.com' represents 79% of domain names involved, followed by '.net' (11%), '.org' (6%), '.info' (2%), and '.biz', '.travel', '.aero' and '.edu' (jointly 2%).

Four hundred and eighteen cases involved domain names registered in ccTLDs. WIPO now provides services for disputes in 47 ccTLDs, such as '.au' (Australia), '.ch' (Switzerland), '.co' (Colombia), '.fr' (France), '.mx' (Mexico), '.tv' (Tuvalu) and '.es' (Spain). It also offers dispute resolution services for registrations in non-Roman scripts, such as Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic or Korean (commonly known as internationalized domain names or IDNs). Sixty complaints in relation to such domain names have been filed so far, although WIPO expects the number of such cases to increase in future. Proceedings to date have been managed in 12 languages, namely Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

David Taylor, Lovells, Paris

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content