Cybersquatting challenges fall in 2009.
The number of cybersquatting cases filed under Uniform domain-name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) fell to a three year low in 2009, and the rate of cybersquatting cases compared to the total number of domains registered fell to an all-time low, according to an analysis by Domain name Wire.
Data from WIPO, National Arbitration Forum, Czech Arbitration Court, and UDRPSearch, show there were just over 3,700 cases filed in 2009. Cases filed at WIPO fell from 2,329 in 2008 to 2,107 in 2009. Cases at National Arbitration Forum fell from about 1,770 cases to approximately 1,605* in 2009. Czech Arbitration Court oversaw fewer than 20 non-.eu cases.
The overall numbers represent a 9% decrease in cases filed. The number of domain names involved in disputes at WIPO increased due to multi-domain cases.
Both WIPO and National Arbitration Forum found in favor of the complainant nearly 90% of the time cases were decided.
The rate of cybersquatting — defined by the number of cases filed divided by the number of total .com domains registered — fell to about 1 in 22,000 domain names, the lowest ever recorded since the introduction of UDRP.
*Estimated. Unlike WIPO, NAF does not keep up-to-date cumulative numbers on its web site.
Mike Rodenbaugh says
The trend seems good, but of course these stats do not consider court actions filed against cybersquatters. I believe those are on the rise as trademark owners have realized that the UDRP provides a fairly worthless remedy most of the time, and has had minimal if any deterrent effect on cybersquatting. Also, the cost of a US federal action (particularly if unopposed) can be cheaper than a UDRP (particularly if a lot of domains are involved).
Andrew Allemann says
@ Mike – I would think an unopposed UDRP would still be cheaper, since the arbitration providers offer steep volume discounts. Of course, the respondent has to own all of the domains.
I think it fell for two reasons.
First, squatters dropped a lot of trademark domains which lowered the total pool of possible cases.
Second, those who had a legitimate right to domains started to fight the reverse domain name hijacking attempts. I actually personally won one. Those who won successfully tarnished the image of many companies when they were painted in the light of a theif…..of which many were just that. This has scared the PR departments of many companies….or maybe I should say it scared the lawyers pushing these companies to unscupulous acts against legitimate domain owners. Either way, I think legitimate domain owners fought the good figh in 2009. 🙂
Dutch Boyd says
Just from a filing cost standpoint… a UDRP costs $1500 to file and a federal court complaint costs $350 to file.
Andrew Allemann says
@ Dutch Boyd – I always assumed the legal costs were more
John Berryhill says
“Just from a filing cost standpoint… a UDRP costs $1500 to file and a federal court complaint costs $350 to file.”
But merely filing a court case will not result in transfer of a domain name in a default situation. The case will have to be served on the defendant. If done by email, one has to move for alternative service and obtain the court’s consent. Then one has to move for a default judgment, and provide briefing sufficient to prove up a prima facie case. The court may require a hearing on that motion.
Pursuing a default in an ACPA case *may* turn out with a lower total price tag than a UDRP, but it is not a sure bet.
As far as “effectiveness” of remedies goes, enforcing a monetary judgment against fake whois data or persons in other countries is doable in some circumstances, but also requires a healthy outlay of costs and fees to do it, and requires a client willing to go along for the ride.
Among the most enthusiastic litigators is Verizon, and as a casual look at how effective a deterrent the litigation has been, I just punched up a few obvious typos at random:
Verizoon.com – putative WHOIS in Pakistan
Vrizon.com – putative WHOIS in Moscow
Veerizon.com – … Korea
Veriizon.com – Domains By Proxy
Verisign.com – some dodgy outfit in California
I guess I’m just not seeing the deterrent. But to a certain paranoid way of thinking it probably seems that cybersquatters have some sort of “hive mind” and would even be aware of the lawsuits, or the UDRP’s for that matter. My guess would be that the notion of cybersquatting is more likely re-invented by malefactors, or simply ill-informed individuals, every day, all over the world. Some street hustler in Lagos who finds the internet and graduates to cybersquatting from 419 scamming, is unlikely to be impressed with goings on in US courts, WIPO, or anywhere else.
I’m still surprised by some of the calls I get from people who don’t “get it”, so from what I’ve seen, there’s an endless supply of people who will step up to the plate, regardless of whether others have been deterred.
But I wonder if we’ll see the annual press release from WIPO this year?
Andrew Allemann says
@ John –
Yes, you will see the annual press release from WIPO. But instead of focusing on the number of cases, suddenly they’ll use the “number of domains involved” as the metric 🙂
Jim Davies says
@ Andrew – Spot on!