What is the UDRP?
The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is an arbitration process available to the public for addressing domain name squatters and other disputes over domain name ownership. The process is applicable across all General Top Level Domains (gTLDs), such as the gTLD ".com" Under the UDRP process, in certain circumstances you can seek to force a cyber squatter or trademark infringer either to transfer a domain to you or cancel their registration altogether.
What Do You Need to Show?
First, you need trademark rights. A registration demonstrating those rights is always very helpful. So, you specify the trademark(s) or service mark(s) on which the complaint is based. You provide, for each mark, the goods or services, if any, with which the mark is used or with which you intend to use the mark at the time the UDRP complaint is submitted.
Next you will need to describe the grounds on which the complaint is made. In particular you will need to show:
- The manner in which the domain name(s) is/are identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which you have rights; and
- Why the current domain registrant should be considered as having no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name(s); and
- Why the domain name(s) should be considered as having been registered and being used in bad faith
So, You Get it All Together: What happens Then?
- Generally, the Arbitration Forum will examine the Complaint to determine whether it conforms to the rules, etc. If, for some reason, they say it doesn't, you generally will get a chance to fix any issues. This should take about three (3) days.
- Once approved, the Forum will send the official Complaint to the offending registrant (the "Respondent"), and they will have twenty (20) calendar days, depending on the forum, to submit a Response to both the Forum and to you.
- If Respondent does not file a response, then it would be in default. The Arbitration Forum will then make a decision based solely on your complaint. Also, a default is seen as another sign of bad faith registration and use of the domain (Good for you!).
- An arbiter will be appointed within five (5) calendar days of either (1) Respondent's response filing or (2) Respondent's default.
- A panel decision comes out within fourteen (14) calendar days of its appointment by the Forum.
- You'll get the decision about three (3) days later.
Total Time: ~45-50 days
You can take a look at a layout of the process here:http://domains.adrforum.com/main.aspx?itemID=263&hideBar=True&navID=199&news=26
Keep in mind that rules and time frames are open to change, but a UDRP action can be much swifter and less expensive than alternative litigation.
Please note that this blog entry is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice. Nothing herein is meant to create an attorney-client relationship.