Wed, Mar 18th 2009 6:15pm
2008 saw the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization handle more cybersquatting cases than ever before -- 2,329. Michael Geist makes the case that things aren't as bad on this front as they might seem, but the head of WIPO says the issue will only get worse as ICANN prepares to throw open the top-level domain system, which will undoubtedly lead to even more disputes. For instance, something like ".apple" will certainly be a magnet for disputes. Who should get to claim it? Apple Computer, Apple Corps, a trade group of apple farmers, or somebody else with a legitimate tie to the word apple? ICANN's plans to throw things open on the TLD front could be better than it getting to determine which TLDs people can use, but it certainly looks like it's going to come at the cost of a ridiculous amount of arguments over who gets to own specific TLDs. It's easy to say that ICANN and WIPO should try to get out ahead of the issue, and for what it's worth, the WIPO exec says they're working to create "pre- and post-delegation procedures". But it's hard to imagine that they're going to be able to really do much to limit the number of disputes when the new TLDs open up, given how many parties could have legitimate claims to the same ones.
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