18 March 2019

Philip Morris top UDRP filer as cybersquatting claims hit record high

Cigarette and tobacco company  Philip Morris filed the most Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) cases in 2018, according to statistics released Friday, March 15, by the  World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

Cybersquatting cases hit a record high last year, with trademark owners filing 3,447 cases under the UDRP with WIPO’s Arbitration and Mediation Center.

Philip Morris took the top spot, filing 129 cases. Andrey Ternovskiy, the Russian founder of online chat website Chatroulette, took the second spot with 119 cases and French retailer Carrefour took third place (59 cases).

Overall, three industries—banking and finance (12% of all cases), biotechnology and pharmaceuticals (11%), and internet and IT (11%)—accounted for more than one-third of all disputes.

WIPO’s 2018 caseload covered 5,655 domain names in total, involving parties from 109 countries.

The US remained the first-ranked filing country with 976 cases, followed by France (553), the UK (305), Germany (244), and Switzerland (193).

WIPO director general Francis Gurry said: “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.”

Cases were decided by 318 panellists from 54 countries in 2018, and administered in 19 different languages.

WIPO also said that recently-introduced provisions, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, are affecting the accessibility of registrant information in “WhoIs” domain name databases.

“In response to these developments, the WIPO Center in 2018 published informal guidance for trademark owners exploring UDRP filing and it remains involved in ICANN discussions on a WhoIs access solution,” said WIPO.

This story was first published on TBO.

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18 March 2016   Cybersquatting claims filed at the World Intellectual Property Organization rose by almost 5% last year, fuelled by a growth in the number of cases concerning new generic top-level domains.
13 May 2020   The US International Trade Commission will begin an investigation into certain Philip Morris tobacco heating articles, following a complaint from British American Tobacco.