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Domain Name Disputes - An Overview of WIPO UDRP


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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29 September 2011

It has been reported this week that in 2010 trade mark owners filed 2,696 domain dispute cases. These relates to 4,370 domain names. It is a 28% increase on the figures last year and it is thought to be down to the ease of filing of disputes due to the new online system.

What is a Domain Dispute?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is administered by WIPO and was introduced in 1998. In 1999 WIPO developed and implemented the UDRP in order to save costs and time in international domain name disputes. T

he UDRP sets out certain circumstances in which domain name disputes will be subject to mandatory administrative proceedings. Unlike traditional arbitration UDRP has no binding effect other than on the registrar of the domain name in question. The decision essentially creates a contract between the parties which must be adhered to to avoid a breach of that contract. ICANN’s policy and procedures are incorporated into a subscribers internet registration agreement this has the effect that by making a complaint to ICANN the complainant automatically enters into arbitration proceedings.

As mentioned above, proceedings under UDRP are carried out by four approved bodies: WIPO, NAF (National Arbitration Forum), CPR (Institute for Resolution) and ADNDRC (Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre). Various countries around the world also use derivatives of the UDRP for their own domain name levels for example Nominet in the UK.

Any person (or entity) may make a complaint under UDRP to one of the above bodies and there is no requirement for legal representation (lowering costs) and except in special circumstances there is no physical hearing instead the process is ‘paper-based’ this saves considerable time and expense and bearing in mind the international context of the internet is the only feasible way.

It is up to the complainant to show the following:

A domain name is either identical or confusingly similar to a trade mark this includes both registered and unregistered ‘common law’ trade marks,

The holder of the domain name has no rights or legitimate interest in the domain name.

The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith (for example selling it for a price exceeding the registration cost.

Upon the receipt of the complaint the respondent has 20 days to issue their response dealing with the allegations made against them. The panel will make a decision based upon UDRP rules and any law deemed appropriate, if both parties are based in the same country then this will be the rules and principles of the national legal system, as such any court decisions of the relevant country will have to be taken into account.

Lawdit Solicitors is a commercial firm which specialises in IP law.

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2011-10-13 15:41:13 in Legal Articles

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