Unfortunately, it’s definitely starting to look like this. A few days ago, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), published a report which shows that 8% more complaints were filed in 2008. WIPO is the organisation where owners of a registered trademark can file a complaint when their trademark is being infringed. In 2008, a record number of 2.329 complaints were filed.
The report also showed that most complaints are about .com names. 79% of the complaints which were filed in 2008, were about .com names. Moreover, cybersquatting also seems to be a worldwide problem. In 2008 complaints were filed from over more than 100 different countries. The major number of complaints came out of the US, but also persons in France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Switzerland and Canada became the victim of cybersquatting.
If we take a closer look at the rulings of WIPO, one fact is worth worrying about. In 2008, WIPO didn’t get to a ruling in 30% of the cases. If we take a look at the other 70%, we notice that 85% of the rulings favored the complainant. 15% of the complaints were denied which means the current situation was maintained.
WIPO was introduced in December 1999 and in December 2008, they’ve already treated 14.663 complaints. Moreover the number of complaints rises every year and according to Francis Gurry, the general manager of WIPO, this isn’t going to change any time soon. ‘ Pretty soon ICANN offers the possibilty to register a personal extension. If the introduction of those extensions doesn’t happen in a controlled manner, this will be a hugh playground for cybersquatters,’ says Gurry.
And probably he is right. When it becomes possible to register personal extensions, many will try to seize this opportunity. Soon, we’ll get extensions such as .nyc (New York City), .berlin, .bank, .hotel and many many more. However, when new extensions are introduced, trademark holders also need to protect their name under those extensions. The more extensions that are introduced, the more possibilities for cybersquatters to register a name of a large trademark.