Complaints of "cybersquatting" where a person sets up a site using a trademarked name and profits by selling the name to the owner reached a record level last year according to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
The U.N. agency based in Geneva, received 2,156 complaints alleging abusive registration trademarks on the Internet representing an 18 percent increase over 2006 and a 48 percent increase over 2005.
"These increases confirm that ‘cybersquatting’ remains a significant issue for rights holders," said Mr. Francis Gurry, WIPO Deputy Director General, who oversees WIPO’s dispute resolution work, noting that a number of developments in the DNS are also cause for concern from the perspective of intellectual property holders, as well as Internet users generally.
The majority of complaints came from pharmaceuticals, banking, and Internet, retail and entertainment industries. Pharmaceutical makers remained the top filers due to "numerous permutations of protected names registered for web sites offering or linking to online sales of medications and drugs," WIPO said.
WIPO parties settled a quarter of all cases without a panel decision. Of the remainder, 85 percent of the panel decisions ordered the transfer of the domain names in question to the complainant and 15 percent of the complaints were denied, leaving the names in the possession of the registration holder.
Most of the complaints came from the U.S., France and Britain, while respondents were mainly in China, Britain and the U.S.