Some of the world’s largest brands – including those operating in Australia – continue to fend off cyber squatters with the number of domain name disputes rising by 4.3 per cent year-on-year, according to a report by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services.
The report, which uses data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said there were a record 2884 uniform domain name resolution policy (UDRP) disputes in 2012, covering 5082 domain names.
Not surprisingly, .com was the domain most recovered from cyber squatters – who register and typically profit from a domain owned by someone else – with more than 3475 domain names, almost triple the number of disputes in all other generic top level domains (gTLDS) combined, the report said.
Only 16 disputes related to the .xxx domain were filed with WIPO during this domain’s first full year of operation.
“The domain industry and global brands have been looking for evidence to shed light on the predictions that the arrival of potential new gTLDs such as .web, .home, and .sucks will drive cyber squatting to new highs, and the first year of .xxx has been closely watched as an indicator,” said Martin Burke, executive VP at Melbourne IT DBS.
“Some will be quick to point out that 16 cases show the fears are just hype but that ignores the fact that around 80,000 trademarks were registered in .xxx to protect brands before the gTLD even went live.
“What is more compelling is that .com accounts for 68 per cent of WIPO domain disputes and in our view, that percentage is likely to remain high once the new gTLDs arrive, meaning the biggest problem for brands is actually one they are already having to deal with,” he said.
The majority (88 per cent) of complaints in 2012 were upheld, compared to the 85 per cent average, indicating brands were getting better at choosing when and how to file effective UDRP actions, the report said.
China experienced one of largest increases in cyber squatters in 2012 with 47 per cent rise in cases to 500. Australia experienced an 8 per cent decrease in cases from 171 to 158 year-on-year.
Some of the big brands that filed cases with WIPO in 2012 included Apple, Dyson, IKEA, IBM, Intel, LEGO, McDonalds, Pfizer and Royal Bank of Scotland.