Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy
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The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) is a process established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the resolution of disputes regarding the registration of internet domain names. The UDRP currently applies to all .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, and .org top-level domains, and some country code top-level domains.
When a registrant chooses a domain name, the registrant must “represent and warrant,” among other things, that registering the name “will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any third party,” and agree to participate in an arbitration-like proceeding should any third party assert such a claim.
A complainant in a UDRP proceeding must establish three elements to succeed:
- The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
- The registrant does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and
- The registrant registered the domain name and is using it in "bad faith."
In a UDRP proceeding, a panel will consider several non-exclusive factors to assess bad faith, such as:
- Whether the registrant registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark;
- Whether the registrant registered the domain name to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, if the domain name owner has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; and
- Whether the registrant registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
- Whether by using the domain name, the registrant has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to the registrant's website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark.
The goal of the UDRP is to create a streamlined process for resolving such disputes. It was envisioned that this process would be quicker and less expensive than a standard legal challenge. The costs to hire a UDRP provider to handle a complaint often start around $1000 to $2000. Also, if either party is dissatisfied by a UDRP decision, they may challenge the decision in court.
If a trademark holder loses a UDRP proceeding, it may still bring a lawsuit against the domain name registrant. In this situation the administrative panel's UDRP decision is not binding to the extent that it can be challenged and overturned in a U.S. court of law by means of other federal mandates, such as the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. Conversely, if a domain name registrant loses a UDRP proceeding, it must file a lawsuit against the trademark holder within ten days to prevent ICANN from transferring the domain name.
The UDRP process has already been used in a number of well-known cases, such as Madonna Ciccone, p/k/a Madonna v. Dan Parisi and "Madonna.com". In this case, the arbitration panel found against the defendant registrant based on all three of the above factors and ordered the domain name turned over to Madonna.
Often there is contention over similar but not identical domain names, in which the offended partyfiles a court action claiming trademark or copyright infringement. For example, actor Robert De Niro has claimed ownership of all domain names incorporating the text "Tribeca" for domain names with any content related to film festivals. In particular, he has a dispute with the owner of the website http://tribeca.net..
- ^ InterNIC | FAQs on the UDRP, http://www.internic.net/faqs/udrp.html, retrieved 2009-10-09
- ^ An Informational Website About Cybersquatting Law
- ^ Erik Davis (2 January 2007). "Robert De Niro: Raging Bully?". http://httwww.cinematical.com/2007/01/02/robert-de-niro-raging-bully/.
- ^ "I am Tribeca, De Niro claims". 31 December 2006. http://www.nypost.com/seven/12312006/gossip/pagesix/pagesix.htm.
- ICANN Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy
- The Only Search Engine Delivering both NAF & WIPO UDRP decisions
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- Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions Analysis of over 80 Court Decisions and UDRP Proceedings Resolving Domain Name Disputes
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