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RealTime IT News

Statistics Show Domain Wars May Be Slowing

New statistics just out show the number of heated battles between trademark holders and domain registrants may be cooling down.

Network Solutions said Tuesday the number of disputes in 1998 dropped almost 10 percent over 1997's numbers. The company invoked its domain dispute policy 838 times in 1998 compared to 905 times in 1997.

The dip comes despite the fact that NSI handled 1.9 million registrations in 1998 compared to 962,000 a year earlier.

Martin Mueller of Syracuse University's School of Information Management has been studying domain issues for some time. He said the new numbers from NSI should send a message to the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers to not alter what's not broken.

"There was a period from 1995 to 1997 that was sort of a legal vacuum in terms of what people's rights were. That's now being clarified and I don't think it's a growing problem," he said.

Mueller said intellectual property organizations, which want to make it easier for trademark holders to challenge domain names, may be letting their good intentions go too far.

"It may be that we're going to create a problem that won't exist in a couple of years," he said.

The World Intellectual Property Organization has recommended a domain dispute policy to ICANN that would give preferential treatment to trademark holders. ICANN is expected to take up that recommendation in the spring.