Traverse Legal's attorneys combat cybersquatters on behalf of trademark owners every day. Yet, most companies do not realize that their trademarks and brand names are under attack, their web traffic is being diverted to competitors and their customers are being deceived.
How prevalent is cybersquatting and typosquatting? Check out www.wipo.com, and then compare it with the World Intellectual Property Organization's web site www.wipo.org. Ironically, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center handles a majority of the UDRP domain dispute arbitrations internationally. The very organization which is invested with the authority by ICANN to resolve cybersquatting and typosquatting disputes internationally under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy is, by all appearances, being cybersquatted.
Still not convinced that cybersquatting is rampant? Here are two apparent typosquatters who also appear to infringing on WIPO's domain name:
- http://www.wwwwipo.com (A law firm specializing in trademark issues!)
- http://www.wwwwipo.org (Classic ad link cybersquatting site)
It is obvious that both of the above web sites are attempting to divert direct navigation typographical errors seeking WIPO to their own web sites.
It is hard to imagine that anyone beat WIPO to the punch, as DomainTools.com shows registration for the domain was created: 1993-07-16. Interestingly, WIPO only recently filed a US trademark application for both the logo design and words "WIPO" with the USPTO as show here . The registration remains incomplete and has not yet been assigned to an examining attorney. Regardless, it is almost inconceivable that WIPO would not have common law trademark rights.
You would think an arbitration authority specializing in global trademark protection issues would at least post its trademark notices and registration on its web site. Not so. There are no trademark notices on WIPOs web site and they don't even use the circle R symbol to denote their registration.
If WIPO could successfully establish trademark rights, a UDRP decision in their favor should be a slam dunk. Of course, they would have to file with NAF because of the conflict of interest. We can only assume that NAF would overlook the fact that they compete with WIPO in providing arbitration services.