WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, has published data relating to the year 2018 on “cybersquatting”, i.e. registration, for speculative ends, of domain names which fully or partly include another person’s name, trademark or other distinguishing marks without the proprietor’s consent.

During 2018, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center received a record 3,447 complaints from trademark proprietors against the increasing number of websites which sell counterfeit products or conduct fraudulent activities in breach of third party trademarks.

The complaints submitted during 2018 concerned 5,655 domain names, mainly generic top-level domain names (gTLD), especially with extensions .COM, .ONLINE, .LIFE and .APP. The United States of America, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland were the countries where most of the complaints were filed.

The banking and financial sector, biotechnology, pharmaceutical and IT industries were the main areas concerned.

Domain names involving fraud and phishing or counterfeit goods pose the most obvious threats, but all forms of cybersquatting affect consumers. WIPO’s UDRP caseload reflects the continuing need for vigilance on the part of trademark owners around the world”, affirmed Francis Gurry, WIPO Director General.

Since 1999, the WIPO Center has dealt with over 42,500 disputes concerning more than 78,500 domain names.”