WTO Intellectual Property
It was another record year in 2012 for cybersquatting cases filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization Arbitration and Mediation Centre. In addition, WIPO announced results of a survey that show that its mediation services could benefit parties to technology-related disputes.
Trademark holders filed 2,884 cases covering 5,084 internet domain names at the WIPO centre, a 4.5 percent increase over 2011, the previous record year, according to a press release. WIPO is one of the global locations for filing cases under the 1999 Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Cases involved generic top-level domains (gTLDs like .com), and country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs like .ch for Switzerland).
Cases filed at WIPO in 2012 were decided by 341 panellists from 48 countries, with proceedings in 13 different languages, the top five being English, Spanish, Chinese, French and Dutch. The top three areas of activity last year were retail, fashion and banking/finance. Some 75 percent of all cases were in the .com domain. One in five cases were settled, and in 91 percent of cases, evidence of cybersquatting was found.
WIPO said it also has begun to see disputes filed in relation to the new gTLDs being launched at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). As of 13 March, there were 71 cases filed under the Legal Rights Objections procedure.
The WIPO centre also offers services for technology and other intellectual property disputes, under mediation, arbitration and expedited arbitration rules. As of December 2012, there had been nearly 300 cases filed under these rules over the past five years. Examples of areas of case filings include: patent infringement, patent licences, information technology transactions, distribution agreements for pharmaceutical and consumer products, copyright issues, research and development agreements, and media-related agreements.
WIPO today also announced the results of a survey of users of alternative dispute resolution methods for technology-related disputes. With nearly 400 respondents from more than 60 countries, it found that parties to technology agreements are concerned about the cost and time of resolving formal disputes, making WIPO's alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services more attractive.
"While court litigation remains the default path, survey responses indicate that ADR offers attractive options in terms of cost and time, as well as enforceability, quality of outcome, and confidentiality," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry said in the release.