The WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) is the global contact point for information, services and intellectual property policy. The organization was founded in 1967 and currently consists of 191 member states.
If trademarks are registered as domains by third parties in order to resell them at high prices or even to misuse them for phishing purposes, trademark owners can file a complaint with WIPO. The complaint often relates to one domain, but there are also complaints concerning two or more domains. WIPO uses a uniform procedure (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, UDRP for short) to examine each complaint received and decide what should be done with the domain in question. The majority of complaints end with the transfer or deletion of the domain. We publish exciting cases on our website or they can be found in our news archive.
WIPO has now published the figures on the development of complaints from 2018 in a press release. With 3,447 complaints, there is now a new record in the number of complaints received. This is 12% more than in the previous year. However, the number of domains dropped to 5,655 (peak value 2017: 6,371). Almost 73% of these are .com domains. The other 27% are divided between .net (4.62%), .org (3.50%), .info (2.23%) and 36 other top-level domains.
The majority of complainants come from the USA (976), France (553), the United Kingdom (305) and Germany (244). The defendants are also located in the USA (840), China (466), the United Kingdom (216) or France (180). Germany has only 86 respondents (9th place).
The respective sectors concerned are exciting. WIPO attributes the complaints to 17 different sectors. "Banking & Finance" leads the ranking with 12%, followed by the sectors "Biotechnology & Pharmacy" and "Internet & IT" with 11% each. So there are not a few sectors that are particularly affected. Rather, the complaint procedures submitted are divided between different sectors. There were no outliers upwards or downwards in 2018.
The growing number of complaint procedures at WIPO is in line with our hands-on experience. We therefore assume that these figures will continue to rise, just as in the past. Whether one industry or the other will be more affected in a given year will probably depend on the trends. We therefore strongly advise each company to check its domain portfolio initially and repeatedly, to add missing domains, to sort out unimportant ones and to define an internal strategy for possible domain abuse. It is all the more important that the departments and external service providers involved coordinate their efforts to identify the boundaries of so-called domain grabbers and cybersquatters with a WIPO complaint procedure.
The full report with further figures can be found on the WIPO website.
Sources: WIPO, our own