Melbourne IT Warns Brands To Be Aware Of Protection In New gTLDs

Melbourne IT Group logoA new report from Melbourne IT says brands need to prepare to protect their brands as new generic Top Level Domains are introduced, but that their impact will be minimal compared to the efforts required to protect brands in .com.

In the report released this week, 2012 domain dispute trends were analysed and indicate the world’s large brands have their hands full dealing with existing domains like .com.

The Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services’ (DBS) report used dispute data from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and shows that .com was the domain most recovered from cybersquatters by brands with more than 3,475 domain names, almost triple the number of disputes in all other gTLDs combined. The first full year of operation for the .xxx domain yielded only 16 disputes filed with WIPO.

What the Melbourne IT report does not note though is that while complaints to WIPO have increased 4.2 percent, total registrations of domain names in the year to the end of September increased by 12 percent according to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief.

But what the Melbourne IT report does note is that “there are also multiple ways of getting a domain suspended, cancelled or recovered from a cybersquatter outside of taking a UDRP action. These include private negotiation through ‘Cease & Desist ‘ letters threatening action , website take – down by a service provider or actually paying the squatter off to recover the name.”

“The domain industry and global brands have been looking for evidence to shed light on the predictions that the arrival of potential new gTLDs such as .web, .home and .sucks will drive cybersquatting to new highs, and the first year of .xxx has been closely watched as an indicator,” said Melbourne IT DBS Executive Vice President, Martin Burke.

“Some will be quick to point out that 16 cases show the fears are just hype, but that ignores the fact that around 80,000 trademarks were registered in .xxx to protect brands before the gTLD even went live. What is more compelling is that .com accounts for 68% of WIPO domain disputes, and in our view that percentage is likely to remain high once the new gTLDs arrive, meaning the biggest problem for brands is actually one they are already having to deal with,” he said.

“However, we do agree with trademark holders that it is likely cybersquatting cases will occur at the second level of new gTLDs, so it is imperative brands prepare now by considering which trademarks will need to be registered in ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse and developing their domain registration strategy for both protecting and promoting their brands in the new domains.”

The Melbourne IT DBS report and news release is available for download from www.melbourneit.info/news-centre/Releases/cybersquatting-report.xml.