Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy

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ICANN Policy
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Adopted: 1999, updated in 2009
Summary: addresses trademark abuses in the domain name industry
Addresses: cybersquatting, typosquatting
Also addressed by U.S. Legislation: Y
Related to: Cybersquatting, Typosquatting, Reverse Domain Hijacking,
Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act

The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP), approved by ICANN with recommendations from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), [1] provides a platform for resolving conflicts relating to second-level domain names.[2][3] This policy was created in order to protect trademark owners from infringement and abuses in the DNS, such as Cybersquatting and Typosquatting. However, it can be subject to abuse itself if complainants seek to use it for Reverse Domain Hijacking in order to take a domain that was registered in good faith that the owner had legitimate rights to.[4] Additional definitions and specifications were added the the UDRP in 2014.[5]

Policy Rules & Procedure

Eligibility

  • UDRP applies to disputes that involve the "alleged abusive registration of a domain name"[6] and that fit the following conditions:
    • "(i) the domain name registered by the domain name registrant is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant (the person or entity bringing the complaint) has rights; and
    • (ii) the domain name registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in question; and
    • (iii) the domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith."[6]

Service Providers

Only ICANN accredited service providers can make rulings on UDRP cases. Below is a list of approved service providers:[7]

  • Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre
  • National Arbitration Forum
  • WIPO
  • Czech Arbitration Center for Internet Disputes
  • Arab Center for Domain Name Dispute Resolution (ACDR)[8]

Proceedings

  • The general outline of any UDRP case should follow this general pattern:
  1. A complainant files a complaint with an ICANN approved service provider regarding a domain name that he or she believes fits the eligibility requirements.
  2. The registrant of the domain name in question, known as the respondent, is then notified of the complaint and files a response to it.
  3. The service provider chooses a panel to make a ruling in the case.
  4. After the panel makes a ruling, all parties are notified.
  5. After the parties are notified, any registration changes mandated by the panel occur.[6]
  • See UDRP Policy Rules for more detailed information on UDRP Administrative Proceedings.

Points to Consider

  • It is the responsibility of the complainant to show that the domain name is similar to the trademark, that the registrant registered and used the name in bad faith, and that the registrant has no "legitimate interests" in the name.[6]
  • If the respondent is found by the panel to have registered and used the domain in bad faith, the domain is then transferred to the complainant or its registration is cancelled.[9] There
  • Seeking UDRP Administrative Proceedings does not prevent a complainant from suing the registrant in court, although UDRP proceedings are often faster and less formal than court proceedings.[6]
    • For complaints processed and arbitrated through WIPO, UDRP proceedings are usually resolved within 60 days.[6]
    • UDRP costs vary based on whether the complainant and respondent agree to a one person or three person panel, and for complaints about 1 to 5 domains, the cost is respectively $1,500 and $4,000.[6]
  • Sometimes UDRP proceedings can be overruled by an ACPA ruling.[10]
  • Additional rules added the the UDRP and set to come into effect in July of 2015 specify that registrars must lock domain names within 2 days notice from a UDRP provider. The registrar is also no longer required to contact the respondent before the lock is place on the domain.[5] The registrar level lock is used to prevent the respondent from committing "cyberflight" or attempting to move the domain in order to avoid UDRP proceedings or outcomes.[11]

Reverse Domain Hijacking Finding

  • If the UDRP panel rules that a domain name owner has a legitimate right and use for the registered name under consideration, it can then determine if the UDRP claim was filed frivolously or "in bad faith" by the complainant.[12]
    • If a complainant is found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking, there is no penalty other than the panel officially stating that the complaint "constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding."[13][14]
    • These are some of the justifications behind Reverse Domain Hijacking rulings: the name was registered before the trademark was created, the complainant attempted to use the proceedings after failing to get the name through ordinary means, the complainant did not prove that the way the name was used targeted his or her trademark, or the complainant could have easily investigated the domain and determined that "the Respondent had a legitimate right" to it.[12]
  • View a list of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking Cases

Additional Resources

Related Articles

References

  1. http://www.icann.org/en/help/dndr/udrp/schedule Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  2. http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/gtld/ World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  3. http://www.icann.org/en/help/dndr/udrp Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  4. http://www.domainsherpa.com/domain-name-dictionary/reverse-domain-name-hijacking/ DomainSherpa
  5. 5.0 5.1 https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/udrp-rules-redline-24sep14-en.pdf Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/guide/#a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  7. http://www.icann.org/en/help/dndr/udrp/providers Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers
  8. http://domainincite.com/15893-fifth-urdp-provider-goes-live by Kevin Murphy (February 5, 2014), DomainIncite
  9. http://www.icann.org/en/help/dndr/udrp/policy Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  10. http://www.dnjournal.com/legal/sl_reverse_hijacking.htm by Stevan Lieberman & Debora McCormick, Domain Name Journal
  11. http://domainincite.com/17694-cyberflight-rules-coming-to-udrp-next-july Cyberflight Rules Coming to UDRP Next July by Kevin Murphy, DomainIncite
  12. 12.0 12.1 http://www.rdnh.com/rdnh-provision-udrp/ RDNH.com
  13. http://www.icann.org/en/help/dndr/udrp/rules Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  14. http://www.register.eu/UK/news/reu-reverse-domain-name-hijacking-dubious-practice.asp (September 10, 2013), Register.eu