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WIPO Arbitrators Considered 25,000 Domain Disputes

In 1999, the International Internet Corporation ICANN, managing the address space of the Internet, adopted UDRP (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy) and rules for UDRP. These documents created a system of out-of-court settlement of disputes to consider cases of registration of domains with deliberately unfair intentions.

Since the entry into force of these documents, several centers have been accredited authorized to consider disputes over domains. Over 90% of the reviews fall on two of them: the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center (World Intellectual Property Organization) and the National Arbitration Forum USA.

The WIPO Arbitration Center, on average, receives three new disputes daily for consideration under the UDRP, which gives grounds to believe that the violation of the rights of trademark owners and other intellectual property (IP) objects on the part of domain owners continues to take place. However, significant progress has been made since the initial introduction of the UDRP, when the daily number of disputes submitted reached five. "This trend is encouraging and shows that an accelerated online dispute resolution service is an effective way to prevent theft of IP objects by pirates on the Internet," said Mr. Francis Gurry, Deputy Director General, who oversees WIPO's work in the domain domain. "This does not mean that our work is finished - we must continue our efforts to ensure that the Internet will become a safe market for business people." The prevention of the misuse of intellectual property rights in the digital environment, which is expanding daily, takes a significant place in our Activities, "added Mr Harry.

Illustrating the considerable attention of the public to this phenomenon, the site of the Center, which publishes all decisions and which includes a legal index of all decisions, has in total registered more than 30 million appeals. The most visited decisions are decisions about the "nominal" domains of Madonna, Sting, Julia Roberts. Recall, Madonna and Julia Roberts won disputes over their domain names, while Sting could not prove the existence of three conditions necessary for the return of the domain name (cm. www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/statistics/cases.jsp). In accordance with the terms of the UDRP, the claimant must prove that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to the trademark or other IP object belonging to it, that the defendant does not have a right or legal interests in the relevant domain, and that the respondent registered and used the domain Unconscionably.

So 2005 was marked by major domain disputes around famous brand domains, such as renaulttrucks.com, sony-ericsson.org, internetexplorer.com, porschekorea.net. In addition, celebrities continue to be a tasty morsel for cybersquatters. In the proceedings, such well-known personalities as, for example, the author of the "Little Prince" Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Morgan Freeman, Larry King, Domian Hurst, etc., were involved in the proceedings. The fashion world also "screamed" with scandals and loud domain cases. Hugo Boss, Armani and Calvin Klein did not avoid litigation.

The industries most frequently featured in WIPO's domain disputes include the production and sale of food and alcohol, the restaurant business, the fashion and entertainment industries, the Internet and information technology, and the media.

In just over 7 years of existence of the Arbitration and Mediation Center of WIPO, the Center's arbitrators have considered over 25 thousand cases. The Center filed 9,567 claims based on the UDRP procedure for the consideration of disputes both on national domains (country code TLD or ccTLD) and on public domain (generic TLD or gTLD). Of these applications, according to WIPO statistics, 79% of all cases involving domain name disputes occurred in the COM domain; 11% for the NET domain, 6% for the ORG domain, 2% for the INFO domain and 2% for the BIZ, TRAVEL, AERO and EDU domains combined.

More than 15 thousand domain disputes, considered by the Center, concerned domains registered during priority registration in the INFO, BIZ, MOBI domains, as well as cases based on the special ERDRP procedure developed at the opening of the domain NAME.

Of the 9567 applications filed up to August 2006, 97% (8936) cases were allowed. At the same time, 418 of them were devoted to domain names registered in national domains (the UDRP procedure is in force in 47 ccTLDs), 388 of which were resolved in favor of the plaintiff, 43 in favor of the defendant, 105 were settled by the parties, and another 30 are awaiting consideration. A total of 17912 domains from 136 countries have been reviewed.

The report of the Arbitration and Mediation Center of WIPO provides a table with the number of domain disputes examined in different domain zones by years.

UDRP .info .biz STOP .name EDRP .mobi Sunrise Total
1999 1 - - -   1
2000 1,857 - - -   1,857
2001 1,557 1,579 53 -   3,189
2002 1,207 13,593 285 1   15,086
2003 1,100 - - -   1,100
2004 1,176 - - 3   1,179
2005 1,456 - - 1   1,457
Jan-August 2006 1,213 - - - 3 1,216
Total 9,567 15,172 338 5 3 25,085
The WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center also participates in the resolution of disputes over so-called multilingual domain names (represented by the symbols of the national alphabets). Already received a few dozen suits for such domain names.

Analyzing the claims, WIPO speaks of the multinational nature of the phenomenon of domain capture. To date, the Center receives disputes in 12 languages  Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. The geographical distribution of parties involved in disputes, considered by the WIPO Center in accordance with UDRP, covers 136 countries of the world. It is quite obvious that the number of such disputable cases will only grow with time.

Domain disputes, resolved by the Center, are indexed, a number of decisions on them are published to the site of the organization.

The official site of the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center is accessible to users of the Internet by the address arbiter.wipo.int/domains. For questions about the Center's activities, contact the WIPO Media and Media Section tel. (+41 22) 338 8161 or 338 95 47; fax (+41 22) 338 8810; email .

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