UN agency voices concerns about time and cost of technology-related disputes

WIPO Director General Francis Gurry (left) briefs journalists on tech disputes survey and 2012 domain name cases. Photo: WIPO/Emmanuel Berrod

28 March 2013 – Court litigation in technology-related disputes are generally costly and time-consuming, the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reported today, leading more cases to be resolved through alternative means, such as negotiation and mediation.

According to the International Survey on Dispute Resolution in Technology Transactions, conducted by WIPO, less than two per cent of technology agreements lead to formal dispute proceedings.

“The survey confirms that parties to technology-related agreements are worried about the high costs and lengthy timelines of disputes, especially in an international context,” said WIPO Director General Francis Gurry.

The survey presents the practices and motivation of almost 400 respondents from over 60 countries, and assesses the current use and comparative merits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods for resolving technology-related disputes.

“While court litigation remains the default path, survey responses indicate that ADR offers attractive options in terms of cost and time, as well as enforceability, quality of outcome, and confidentiality,” Mr. Gurry noted.

The survey found that court litigation took an average of about 3.5 years, with legal costs ranging from $475,000 in local cases to $850,000 in international cases.

Meanwhile, mediation took on average eight months, at a cost below $100,000. Cases settled through arbitration took on average slightly more than a year and cost on average just over $400,000.

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