Monday, 16 March 2009

WIPO sees record number of domain disputes, lobbies ICANN for trade mark interests

WIPO had a record number of cybersquatting cases last year (not surprising, really: the dispute procedures can be expected to generate a growing volume of work), and is reportedly trying to get ICANN to bear in mind the interests of trade mark owners when it introduces new domains in the future. As this report in the FT points out, there is about to be an explosion of domain names in comparison to which what we have seen before will seem small.

The worst excesses of internet land-grabs seem now to be consigned to history, but the sunrise periods provided for in the new domains coming on stream in recent years don't necessarily do everything that trade mark owners need. I think the old argument that domain names and trade marks are two different things has been completely overtaken by events, so it is crucial that the two systems run in as much harmony as possible. With the latest proposed enlargement of the domain name world, this is going to be hard to achieve.

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