New TLDs and their impact to brands.
UPDATE 02/18/2010 12:47pm: We have confirmed these findings to be correct.
It has often been asserted by trademark holders that the new round of gTLDs will have a major and catastrophic financial impact on brands.
But beyond these alarmist statements, is there any empirical evidence to either back this up, or to prove it false?
After examining all UDRP cases done by WIPO and the NAF, sorted by TLD, the evidence shows that new gTLDs play a very minor role in UDRPs, and that to the extent that a TLD matters, .com more prone to infringement than other, newer gTLDs. Infringements, as measured by UDRPs filed (regardless of outcome), show that infringement broadly correlate to the number of domains registered in a TLD zone, and not to the newness or recency of a TLD.
The study also predicts that if 300 new TLDs were created (an estimate made by several observers, including ICANN), there would be 316 new additional UDRPs filed. When combined with the new Uniform Rapid Suspension provisions that will be required for new gTLDs, these cases would result in a total additional cost to trademark holders of $869,000, or less than $.10 per trademark registered worldwide.
The data shows that, for enforcement via UDRP and URS, assertions that brand holders would be faced with enormous costs have been substantially overestimated.