Domain name disputes against cybersquatting are at an all-time high according to data collected by WIPO. I must admit that I found this information rather surprising, as it was my understanding that after an initial period of healthy dispute settlements using ICANN’s Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the number of disputes had been falling. According to WIPO’s data, the statistics since 2000 are:
|Year||Number of Cases|
There’s certainly a resurgence in the last three years. But why? WIPO is very efficient, and allows wider dissemination of the UDRP and its policies. WIPO’s role as a dispute settlement provider assures that the UDRP will remain as one of the most successful examples of online dispute resolution in the world. However, the UDRP has often been accused of being pro-trade mark owner. For example, looking at WIPO’s dispute outcome statistics per year, out of 11958 disputes, 65% have resulted in a favourable outcome for the complainant. If we consider that 22% of the disputes are dropped, only 11% complaints are dismissed. Granted, most of the defendants are cybersquatters, but one has to wonder about whether such a seemingly one-sided system can be sustained much longer. After all, losers can still initiate a dispute in their national courts.