Concerns over domain name infringement and cybersquatting have declined in importance for trademark practitioners over the last year, according to the latest annual Global Trademark Benchmarking Survey by World Trademark Review.
The survey of over 550 trademark practitioners, both in-house and in private practice, found a majority (60.5%) of respondents stated their domain enforcement strategy hadn’t changed in the last 12 months in light of the gTLD rollout. The figure was much the same for “corporate respondents (59.4%). This is a nearly 10% higher figure than the year before (2014), and 30% higher than in 2011 (which was, of course, during the planning stages of the new gTLDs). On the flip-side, only 15.7% of practitioners said that their enforcement strategy had changed in the last 12 months due to the rollout (the highest figures since 2013).”
“Perhaps more tellingly, when in-house respondents were asked to rank a variety of issues in terms of the threat they pose to trademark portfolios, domain name infringement slipped five places (from being the second most threatening issue in 2014 to seventh last year)” according to a post on the WTR blog. “This isn’t to say all online threats were downgraded in this year’s survey; in fact, the online sale of counterfeits rose from sixth to top place in the list. However, it does suggest that trademark counsel strategies for domain name infringement are in place and deemed to be working.”
WTR note that previous surveys found there were concerns on the impact on budgets and enforcement strategies over the potential impact of new gTLDs. However they believe it’s likely “the survey shows this relative calm a sign that the worst fears of counsel did not become a reality, that pre-existing strategies were well-suited to the expanded online space [and] that enforcement approaches have already been cannily adapted to cater to the new environment.”
For more information, see the WTR blog post at: