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New Top-Level Domain Names Push WIPO Cybersquatting Cases to Record High

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(L-r): Francis Gurry, WIPO director general and Erik Wilbers, director of WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, present the Organization’s 2016 arbitration and mediation activities at a press conference at the United Nations Office in Geneva (photo: WIPO).

Trademark owners filed all-time record 3,036 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 2016, an increase of 10% over the previous year, with over 1,200 new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) now operational, it said on Friday.

Cybersquatting disputes relating to new gTLDs rose to 16% of WIPO’s 2016 caseload, which covered a total of 5,374 domain names.  Among these, .XYZ, .TOP and .CLUB were the most common new gTLDs in dispute. (Annex 1 PDF, Annex 1: Top 50 gTLDs (Ranking) in WIPO Cases (2016))  Over 340 new gTLDs came online in 2016, such as .GAMES, .SHOP, and .STREAM.

Speaking on the development, Francis Gurry, WIPO director general said:  “The continuing growth in cybersquatting cases worldwide shows the need for continued vigilance by trademark owners and consumers alike.  This is even more important as a considerable number of these disputes involve incidents of online counterfeiting.  In such cases, WIPO assists in restoring these domain names to trademark owners, thereby curbing consumer deception.”

Who filed the most domain name cases in 2016?  PDF, Who filed the most domain name cases in 2016?

Country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) accounted for some 14% of WIPO filings, with 74 national domain registries designating this WIPO dispute resolution service.

WIPO UDRP cases in 2016 involved parties from 109 countries.  Among the countries where filings originated, the U.S. remained first with 895 cases filed, followed by France (466), Germany (273), the U.K. (237) and Switzerland (180). (Annex 2 PDF, Annex 2: Geographical Distribution of Parties in WIPO Domain Name Cases

Top 25 (2016)) Among the top five filing countries, France (+38%) saw the highest growth in cases filed.

The top sectors of complainant activity were banking and finance (12% of all cases), fashion (9%), heavy industry and machinery (9%), internet and IT (8%), biotechnology and pharmaceuticals (7%) and retail (7%).

Areas of WIPO Domain Name Complainant Activity (2016))  Philip Morris leads the list of filers – 67 cases – followed by AB Electrolux (51) and Hugo Boss, LEGO, and Michelin (42 each). (Annex 4 PDF, Annex 4: Top 10 WIPO Domain Name Case Filing Parties (2016)).  In 2016 WIPO appointed 305 panelists from 47 countries, and administered proceedings in 15 different languages.

Since the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center administered the first UDRP case in 1999, total WIPO case filings passed the 36,000 mark in 2016, encompassing over 66,000 domain names. (Annex 5 PDF, Annex 5: Total Number of WIPO Domain Name Cases and Domain Names by Year)

Intellectual Property Disputes
Patent-related disputes (34%) were most common among the 60 mediation and arbitration cases received by the WIPO Center for different types of intellectual property disputes in 2016.

ICT (20.5%), Copyright (13.6%), and Trademark (13.6%) disputes followed, as well as others arising from distribution and franchising agreements, industrial design, and art and cultural heritage.  WIPO mediation was the most requested procedure, followed by arbitration, and expedited arbitration.

These IP ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) cases filed in 2016 concerned parties from 19 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S.

A number of cases involved multiple parties on one or both sides of the dispute.  Companies, including multinationals and SMEs, were the most frequent users, followed by individuals and municipalities, as well as a research institution, a non-profit organization, a copyright collecting rights society and an independent charity.

Respondents with experience in IP disputes named the WIPO Center as their second-most used institution close behind the ICC International Court of Arbitration in a survey on the use of arbitration for Technology, Media and Telecom disputes by the School of International Arbitration, Queen Mary University of London.  Where respondents expressed a preference for an institution in these dispute areas, the WIPO Center ranked first.

 

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Farmcrowdy Launches Mobile App for Agritech in Nigeria

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Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy

Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s first and leading digital agriculture platform has introduced a new category of funding small scale farming in Africa by allowing Nigerians to venture and sponsor agriculture; and launched of its first app for Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices.

 

Techstars Atlanta alumnus, Farmcrowdy is reshaping the way in which people participate in farming and food production, through using their online platform to source funds from sponsors, whose money is used to secure land, plant crops and meet the funding needs of boosting food production with small scale farmers. Farm Sponsors can expect to see returns after harvest of 6-25% between a 3-9 month period, depending on what farm type they choose.

 

Since the launch of its website 12 months ago, Farmcrowdy has recorded close to 1,000 unique farm sponsors, aggregated a combined 4,000 acres of farmland in Nigeria for farming purpose and grown over 150,000 organic chickens to date.

 

Having worked with close to 2,000 small scale farmers in Nigeria already, the vast majority of Farmcrowdy sponsors are based in Nigeria, whilst 10% are located in the US and UK.

 

With another 6,000 Farm Followers visiting their website every week, the launch of the Farmcrowdy mobile app will provide a more accessible platform for agriculture enthusiasts to experience, learn and appreciate agriculture practice first-hand. Farmcrowdy currently provides regular updates, images and videos from the farmers as they work on the sponsored farms, providing an opportunity for their sponsors and farm followers to digitally track the journey of their sponsored farm through regular updates.

 

Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy said “We have launched the Farmcrowdy app to provide an accessible, real-time platform for people on the go, who do not want to miss out on empowering their own communities. In the past month alone, we have witnessed over 500 farm units of poultry – 25,000 chicks – sell out in a few hours to engage farmers who would have found it difficult accessing loans in the banks; so it’s super fast-paced. People are equally excited about creating impact in the lives of our farmers while earning a decent return. Nigeria is a mobile-first society and we had feedback from our sponsors who said they wanted improved access to our farms. They spoke, we listened, and we have now built a platform that suits Nigerians’ preferred means of doing business. – a mobile app. We expect that with this move, we would continue to stay at forefront of innovation in Agritech across Nigeria and scale our activities into more states in Nigeria while attracting more farm followers and sponsors to engage our farmers”.

 

“By effectively placing farms in the pockets of Nigerians globally, we are collectively impacting national food production and food security. This is our way of creating impact and return model for everyone sponsoring small scale farmers with Farmcrowdy”.

 

Currently operating in eight states across Nigeria, farm sponsors can choose to sponsor a variety of farm types including cassava, maize, rice, soya beans and poultry (broiler chickens for meat); with cycles lasting between 3 to 9 months depending on the farm. Farm sponsorships start from N96,000 [$270], and Farmcrowdy coordinates pre-arranged buyers to sell the farm harvest when the cycle is complete. The farm profit from the harvest is then split between the sponsors who receive 40% of the harvest profits plus their original sponsorship, while the farmers receive returns of 40% and Farmcrowdy gains 20% of the profits.

 

More than 80% of farmers in Nigeria operate on a small-scale level and it is currently estimated that 38 million of them are unbankable. Farmcrowdy, through pairing farmers with sponsors to effectively manage the farming cycle with training in smart farming techniques, supply of equipment and technical support, has over the last 12 months, ushered close to 2,000 small scale farmers into the financial ecosystem, making them financially inclusive.

 

The app, which is now available for download in Google Playstore, with Apple and Microsoft following suit soon, will through an accessible information feed and push notifications, allow users to view available farms, follow existing farms, provide ease of communication with farm account officers and allow the facilitation of easy feedback and comments.

 

Onyeka Akumah added, “This app provides a safe and reliable platform for agriculture enthusiasts to participate in this growing sector from a knowledge stand-point to making informed decisions about exploring opportunities in farming. So, we are looking forward to partnering with more Nigerians locally and globally as we continue to work towards building this community model for Nigerians to empower Nigerian farmers, produce Nigerian food and boost food production in the region while impacting positively on farmers lives and families. This kind of community model will be scaled into other regions as keep learning and improving our processes with the application of technology”.

 

 

 

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Nasarawa Adopts e-payment for Corps Members Payment

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The Nasarawa State Government is to use e-payment system to pay N5, 000 monthly allowance to corps members serving in government establishments in the state.

Mr Samuel Akala, the Special Adviser to Gov. Tanko Al-Makura on Youths, Students and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), disclosed this in Akwanga.

Akala said the new system was to address complaints by corps members on delay in payment of their monthly allowance.

He said that the state government had already commenced screening of corps members to ascertain their actual number in the state as a prelude for the introduction of the new payment system.

Akala said government would also collate data of banks and other details of corps members to ensure hitch- free take off of the scheme.

“Now, the governor discovered that payment of allowance to corps members has not been transparent.

“Some corps members keep complaining all the time that they have not been paid their allowance,’’ he said.

Akala said with the introduction of the new system, payment of corps members’ allowance would be centralised and made for easier.

He commended the governor for giving adequate attention to the welfare of corps members and urged them to reciprocate by dedicating themselves to their duties.

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NITDA to Blacklist MDAs not Running Website on .gov.ng

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National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said any government agency or ministry not running its website on Nigerian domain name, .gov.ng, will be blacklisted.

 

Dr Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami, NITDA director general in a statement made available in Abuja, added that most of the agencies still run their websites on generic top level domain (gTLD).

 

According to Dr Pantami, NITDA has observed the disregard to the use of .gov.ng domain in transaction of government business despite previous warning.

 

The DG said the agency would henceforth ensure strict compliance stressing that government business transactions should be carried out in the country’s code top level domain of the Nigerian government (ccTLD.ng)

 

However, for easy compliance, he said NITDA would henceforth approve request for .gov.ng within 24 hours, with the provision of special purpose phone numbers coupled with regular evaluation of agencies sites.

 

He said: “Furthermore, .gov.ng domain names are free with no rental or renewal cost attached. We therefore call on all MDAs and service providers to support government on the scale on the scale of ease of doing business.” (Daily Trust)

 

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