UDRP

UDRP / Recently Commented

Thoughts on the Proposed Copyright Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy

A proposal from the Domain Name Association (DNA) would provide copyright owners with a new tool to fight online infringement -- but the idea is, like other efforts to protect intellectual property rights on the Internet, proving controversial. The proposed Copyright Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy is one of four parts of the DNA's "Healthy Domains Initiative" (HDI). more

Using Domain Name Privacy/Proxy Services Lawfully or to Hide Contact Information and Identity

Privacy/proxy services carry no per se stigma of nefarious purpose, although when first introduced circa 2006 there was some skepticism they could enable cybersquatting and panelists expressed different views in weighing the legitimacy for their use. Some Panels found high volume registrants responsible for registering domain-name-incorporating trademarks. Others rejected the distinction between high and low volume as a determining factor. more

Excessive Offers to Sell Domain Names: Evidence of Bad Faith or Bona Fide Business Practice?

Not infrequently heard in domain name disputes are cries of shock and gnashing of teeth that domain name holders may lawfully offer their inventory at excessive prices. Take for example TOBAM v. M. Thestrup / Best Identity, D2016-1990 (WIPO November 21, 2016) (<tobam.com>). Respondent accused Complainant of bullying which Complainant denied... more

When ‘Confusing Similarity’ in UDRP Cases Gets Confusing

The first element of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) requires a complainant to prove that the disputed domain name "is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights." It's unusual for a complainant to fail on this first of three prongs, but one recent case demonstrates just how uncertain the UDRP can be sometimes. more

Who Really Cares About New gTLDs?

ICANN's recent announcement of what it called "an exciting milestone in the evolution of the domain name system" - the delegation of the 1,000th new generic top-level domain (gTLD) - went largely unnoticed. While that's consistent with the new gTLD program in general (at least from the perspective of the general public), that doesn't mean trademark owners should forget about them. more

Trademark Overreaching and Faux Cybersquatting Claims

Trademarks can be strong in two ways: either inherently distinctive (arbitrary or fanciful marks), or composed of common elements that have acquired distinctiveness (descriptive or suggestive marks). Trademarks can also be weak in two ways: either composed of common elements, or lacking significant marketplace presence other than in their home territories. Panelists have seen them all, even by respondents alleging trademark rights registered later in time to complainant's. more

The Impact of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking on Supplemental Filings in UDRP Cases

In another blog post, I wrote about the sometimes confusing circumstances in which domain name dispute panelists will consider supplemental, or additional, filings from the parties (in addition to a complaint and response) in cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). I quoted the WIPO Overview, which states, in part, that supplemental filings may be appropriate where a party can "show its relevance to the case and why it was unable to provide that information in the complaint or response." more

The Truth About Supplemental Filings in UDRP Cases

A typical proceeding under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) consists of a complaint and, sometimes, a response. UDRP Rule 12 makes clear that "further statements or documents from either of the Parties" are appropriate only if "the Panel... request[s], in its sole discretion." In practice, however, such supplemental or additional filings are not uncommon, with the leading UDRP service providers - WIPO and the Forum - issuing guidance about when they may be appropriate. more

TMCH Review Recommends Status Quo

On July 25th ICANN announced the publication of the Draft Report of the Independent Review of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). This study was coordinated for ICANN by the Analysis Group, in conjunction with researchers from the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford as well the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School... while public comments on the draft report will be accepted through September 3rd, this Report was triggered by GAC concerns expressed before the Applicant Guidebook for the new gTLD program was even completed, and is not the work product of a GNSO-created working group and therefore will not directly result in the establishment of any new ICANN policy. more

The DotBible Litmus Test for Domain Name Dispute Panelists

A dispute policy for the new '.bible' top-level domain name requires panelists who agree to hear cases to affirm that they "enthusiastically support the mission of American Bible Society" and that they "believe that the Bible is the Word of God which brings salvation through Christ." The DotBible Community Dispute Resolution Policy appears to be the first domain name dispute policy that requires panelists to take a religious oath - or, for that matter, an oath other than anything related to maintaining neutrality. more

Who Contacts Whom: A Material Factor in Selling Domain Names Corresponding to Trademarks

Acquiring domain names for the purpose of selling them to complainants is the second most heavily invoked of the four circumstances that are evidence of abusive registration. Because no self-respecting domain name reseller will ever admit to acquiring domain names "primarily for the purpose" of selling them to complainants "for valuable consideration in excess of [their] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name" evidence of bad faith is typically deduced by other factors. more

Even Lawyers Have Domain Name Problems

No industry is immune from cybersquatting - not even the legal industry. In three recent (and unrelated) UDRP decisions, law firms won decisions ordering the transfer of domain names that contain their trademarks. One of the cases involved Alston & Bird, the large law firm where I began my legal career and first learned about domain name disputes 20 years ago. As the UDRP decision describes it, Alston & Bird is a well-known law firm founded in 1893 with offices throughout the world. more

Transfers of Domain Names Contemporaneous with Complaint: Cyberflight?

Cyberflight (defined as strategically transferring accused domain names to another registrar or registrant upon receipt of a complaint) was a sufficient irritant by 2013 for the ICANN to adopt recommendations to amend the Rules of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Effective July 1, 2015 the Rules now include a requirement for locking the domain as well as a change in the timing of transmitting the complaint to respondents. Before the amendment there had been no uniform approach to locking. more

WIPO Reports Rise in Cybersquatting Cases, Triggered by New gTLDs

According to the latest report from The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), trademark owners filed 2,754 cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) with the agency in 2015 - an increase of 4.6 % over the previous year. more

The Growing Importance of Language in UDRP Proceedings

An increasing number of domain name disputes are being conducted in languages other than English, a trend that presents a new challenge for some trademark owners. In 2015, 85.77% of all domain names disputes at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) were conducted in English - down from an all-time average of 88.01% and a record high (in 2000) of 99.84% (disregarding 1999, the first year of the UDRP, because only one case was filed - in English -- that year). more