UDRP disputes rise, with Hugo Boss revealed as most active filer

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has published its 2015 Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) statistics, evidencing a 4.6% increase in case filings compared to the previous year.

The figures reveal that trademark owners filed 2,754 UDRP cases, centred on 4,364 domain names, with the organisation in 2015. Actions filed in new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) accounted for 10.5% of WIPO’s caseload, with ‘.xyz’ leading the field in terms of new gTLD domain name complaints.

While the headline takeaway seems to be that complaints against new gTLD domain names are behind the 4.6% rise in overall UDRP filings, the current level of complaints remains lower than a number of previous years. The 2,754 cases filed is up compared to 2014, but down compared to 2010, 2011 and 2012 (which was a record year for UDRP complaints). In addition, the number of domain names cited in UDRP complaints last year was the smallest since 2008 (the peak coming in 2013). In short, new gTLDs have driven up this year’s statistics, but overall UDRP case levels at WIPO are still short of the ‘pre-new gTLDs’ high experienced in 2012.

WIPO cases in 2015 involved parties from 113 countries, with the United States (847 cases filed) taking top spot. As to where the respondents were located, the United States similarly ranked first, with China coming in second. The top three sectors of complainant activity were fashion (10% of all cases), banking and finance (9%), and internet and IT (9%). The retail sector accounted for 8% of complaints and biotechnology and pharmaceuticals 7%.

In terms of the brands which were most active in combatting cybersquatting, Hugo Boss led the field with 62 UDRP cases filed. Philip Morris took second spot (60), followed by AB Electrolux (48), F Hoffmann-La Roche (41), Volkswagen (37) and LEGO (36).

Table 1Notable trademark rulings by China’s IP courts

TLD (legacy or new gTLD)

Number of domain names

'.com' (legacy)

2,732

'.net' (legacy)

262

'.org' (legacy)

200

'.info' (legacy)

81

'.xyz' (new gTLD)

62

'.biz' (legacy)

45

'.club' (new gTLD)

24

'.email' (new gTLD)

20

'.website' (new gTLD)

15

'.online' (new gTLD)

15

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