Tuesday , June 6 2023

Cybersquatting cases are going…down?

Nominet reports a record low number of cases filed.

A bar chart showing 541 .uk cybersquatting disputes were filed in 2021

Cybersquatting disputes in the .uk namespace are on their way down. Graphic from Nominet report.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publishes annual data about its cybersquatting case counts under UDRP, usually reporting record case counts.

But this can be misleading. There are many organizations that handle cases under UDRP. Because of forum shopping, you need to look at all of the forums for deciding these cases.

Also, record gross numbers don’t take into consideration how many domains are registered. The number of registered domains keeps going up, and hundreds of new top level domains have been introduced in the past decade.

Looking at just one top level domain in which all cases are handled by one organization might better represent the prevalence of cybersquatting.

Nominet, the organization that manages the .uk namespace (including .co.uk domains), said today that cybersquatting cases in .uk are at an all-time low, not an all-time high.

Entities filed just 548 cases under the .uk dispute policy last year and only 43% of these resulted in a domain transfer. This is despite the Nominet policy being more Complainant-friendly than UDRP because it only requires the domain to be registered or used in bad faith, not registered and used in bad faith. Also, with the introduction of second level .uk domains, you’d expect this number to go up, not down.

So perhaps the headlines shouting that cybersquatting cases are on the rise are a bit misleading.

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