WIPO Statistics: Cybersquatting Complaints Hits a New Record

Unsurprisingly, there has never been so much cybersquatting. Figures from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Arbitration and Mediation Center indicate that “the number of cybersquatting cases at WIPO increases by 12% to reach a new record in 2018” (wipo.int, March 15, 2019). WIPO is one of the institutions accredited by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to administer extrajudicial domain name procedures, such as the Uniform Domain Names Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and all those can be assimilated, including ccTLDs procedures. WIPO is the institution that by far receives the most complaints.

The total number of proceedings is 3,447. In 2017, it was 3074 (Wipo.int, Statistics).

Source: WIPO.INT, 15 March 2019

The increase in the number of complaints is due, in part, to the availability of new gTLDs. Indeed, complaints related to domain names registered under new gTLDs account for 13% of all complaints. WIPO indicates that the new gTLDs that appear the most in the complaints are .ONLINE, .LIFE and .APP, although these three TLDs does not exceed 300 domain names out of a total of 5,655. Therefore, once again, we need to look at the .COM TLD, which accounts for 73% (3660) of the total number of domain names concerned (5,655), suggesting a huge proportion of typosquatting.

As for ccTLD cases, they represent 15% of cases. The WIPO statistics tool asserts that the total number of ccTLD domain names involved in DRP cases is 633. However, WIPO does not specify which ccTLDs are most affected by cybersquatting.

While the number of cases has increased, the number of domain names involved has decreased, from 6,371 in 2017 to 5,655 in 2018.

Source: WIPO.INT, 15 March 2019

How to explain this reduction? Among the possible hypotheses, it is reasonable to think that this reduction is due to the difficulties posed by the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on access to Whois data.

The statistics by sector are essentially the same as in previous years. The sectors of activity most often targeted by cybersquatters are the following ones: banking and finance (12%); biotechnology and pharmacy (11%); Internet and information technology (11%); fashion (8%).

As regards geographical distribution, the complainants mainly come from the following countries:
1. United States ;
2. France ;
3. United Kingdom ;
4. Germany;
5. Swiss; and
6. Malta (the number of complaints having increased by 500%).

Finally, the first countries in which the defendants declared their postal address are the following ones:
1. United States (+ 10.8%);
2. China (-5.3%);
3. France (with a strong increase of 81.8% compared to 2017);
4. India (+ 34.4% compared to 2017); and
5. Turkey (+ 58% compared to 2017).

About IP Twins

IP Twins is an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar with 15 years of experience in domain name strategy and management. We represent trademark holders in UDRP proceedings.

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