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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.

Read the study.pixelstats trackingpixel

8 comments

1 Fred F { 02.18.10 at 4:02 am }

Not a shocker. Glad to see someone took the initiative to do all that research. I looked at NAF and WIPO and it looks like that took a long time to do.

2 Troung { 02.18.10 at 4:03 am }

Why to lawyers lie so much?!?

3 Zach { 02.18.10 at 4:05 am }

not a surprise at these findings.

Someone took a lot of time to go through all of the information, for sure. Looks like the people who did the study are pro-new TLD, though

4 Fairness Advocate { 02.18.10 at 4:11 am }

@Fred F, @Zach – We are working on validating this research. Should be completed midday 2/18.

@Troung – Liar is a strong label, perhaps presenting “the truth through a filter”.

5 anonymous domainer { 02.18.10 at 4:14 am }

The UDRP needs a major overhaul. it is being seriously abused by reverse hijackers to steal domains from people.

6 Constantine Roussos (.music) { 02.19.10 at 12:22 pm }

This is great research. The findings are not a surprise at all. Deep inside everyone knows the truth and a lot of time is wasted on developing perfect policies on things that do not have a great impact on society or brands. Too bad the attorneys of big brands try to hide the real truth from their clients and charge them for it.

Constantine
.music

7 Fairness Advocate { 02.19.10 at 3:44 pm }

Appreciate the comments @Constantine, @Anonymous.

Also, for another perspective on this read here:
MBH at TheDomains.com has a post about the Minds + Machines findings. He suggests that it is worth expanding:

  • the perspective in to ccTLDs that have launched as open as well, like .me
  • does not take into consideration the legal fees around preparation of a UDRP
  • could incorporate how many cease and desist letters are sent by tm holders resulting in a transfer prior to UDRP
  • the number of court cases filed by tm holders or those costs

It also seems reasonable to perhaps quantify

  • the many, many areas where a possible dispute was resolved by friendly (as opposed to visceral) first contact.
  • A higher level of ethical conduct being illustrated by ‘domainers’ (ie the Internet Commerce Association Code of Conduct) reducing the number of claims
  • The impacts of Yahoo or Google blacklisting infringing names reducing the attraction of infringing registrations

With the exception of including ‘open’ ccTLDs, (we will look into this), many of the data points are worth considering but are not necessarily quantifiable.

8 Fairness Advocate { 02.19.10 at 3:54 pm }

Just looked really quickly at WIPO and only found 8 caes in 2008, 13 in 2009, for a total of 21 if I am not missing anything.