UDRP

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A Lesson from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Domain Name Disputes

While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been making news as the result of controversial changes brought about under the new Trump administration -- including the planned removal of "several agency websites containing detailed climate data and scientific information" -- the EPA also has generated some (lesser-known) domain name news: The agency won a decision under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) for the domain name noattacks.org. more»

Commodifying Words and Letters in the .Com Space

Words (and by extension their constituent letters) are as free to utter and use as is the air sustaining life. No one owns them. There is no toll fee to be paid to dictionary makers who curate them. There are, however, two carve-outs from this public domain, namely words and letters businesses use as designations of origin for their marketplace presence, protected by trademark law; and words and letters arranged expressively by authors, protected by copyright law. more»

Dot-Com is Still King - of Domain Name Disputes

Despite the launch of more than 1,200 new gTLDs, .com remains far and away the most popular top-level domain involved in domain name disputes. In 2016, .com domain names represented 66.82 percent of all gTLD disputes at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the only domain name dispute provider that publishes real-time statistics. And, as of this writing, the rate is even higher so far in 2017, with .com domain names accounting for 69.78 percent of all disputes. more»

Why Cancel a Domain Name in a UDRP Case?

While the most common results of a UDRP proceeding are either transfer of a disputed domain name to a complainant or denial (that is, allowing the respondent to retain it), there is another possible outcome: cancellation. I'm always surprised to see a UDRP decision in which a domain name is cancelled. True, many trademark owners don't really want to obtain control of a disputed domain name (and, instead, they simply want to get it taken away from a cybersquatter). more»

In Whose Language? Cybersquatting by Foreigners

There are no gatekeepers to prevent registrants from acquiring domain names incorporating marks that potentially violate third-party rights. Anyone anywhere can acquire domain names composed of words and letters in languages not its own through a registrar whose registration agreement is in the language of the registrant. For example, a Chinese registrant of a domain name incorporating a Norwegian mark as in <statoil.store> in which Complainant requests the proceeding be in English notes that Chinese is not an official language in Norway. more»

How to Get a Domain Name Transferred Under the URS

The Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) is designed to get a domain name suspended, but in some cases this dispute policy can be used to help get a domain name transferred. It's an uncommon result but one that trademark owners may want to keep in mind. The suspension remedy is often viewed as the greatest limitation of the URS. Trademark owners that want to have a domain name transferred typically file a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) instead of the URS - but, the UDRP is more expensive and time-consuming. more»

Passive Holding of Domain Names and the Argument for Bad Faith or Forfeiture

There is a misconception among some trademark owners and their counsel that passive holding of domain names alone or combined with lack of rights or legitimate interests supports abusive registration. Thus, Respondent's inactive use of the disputed domain name demonstrates bad faith. Respondent also had actual knowledge of Complainant's YOU ASKED FOR IT mark as Complainant has attempted to buy the domain from Respondent... more»

Trademarks and Domain Names Composed of Common Terms

The lexical material from which trademarks are formed is drawn from the same social and cultural resources available to everyone else, which includes domain name registrants. Since trademarks are essentially a form of communication, it is unsurprising that a good number of them are composed of common terms (dictionary words, descriptive phrases, and shared expressions) that others may lawfully use for their own purposes. more»

How Long Does a URS Case Take?

The Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) -- which allows a trademark owner to suspend certain domain names, especially those in the "new" gTLDs -- was designed as a quicker and less-expensive alternative to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). As I've written frequently before, there are significant differences between the URS and the UDRP. One of those differences is how long a typical proceeding lasts. more»

How Long Does a UDRP Case Take?

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) was designed as a quicker and less-expensive alternative to litigation. Although the UDRP policy and rules provide strict timelines for various stages of a UDRP case, how quickly a dispute is actually resolved can vary based on numerous factors. A typical UDRP case results in a decision in about two months, but the facts of each case -- including actions both within and outside the control of the parties -- may shorten or extend that timing. more»

Sanctionable Conduct for Abusing the UDRP Process

To claim a superior right to a string of characters mark owners must (first) have priority (unregistered or registered) in using the mark in commerce; and secondly, have a mark strong enough to rebut any counter argument of registrant's right or legitimate interest in the string. A steady (albeit small) number of owners continue to believe it's outrageous for registrants to hold domain names earlier registered than their trademarks and be permitted to extort amounts far "in excess of [their] documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name." more»

Early Disclosure of UDRP Complaints

Under the previous rules for the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), domain name registrants that had a complaint filed against them were supposed to be notified of the complaint by the trademark owner that filed it. Then, a revised set of UDRP rules that went into effect in 2015 eliminated the complainant's obligation to notify the respondent. Instead, the new rules only require the UDRP service provider (such as WIPO or the Forum) notify the respondent, presumably after the registrar has locked the domain name, preventing any transfers. more»

Notice, Takedown, Borders, and Scale

I was on the front lines of the SOPA wars, because SOPA touched on two matters of strong personal and professional importance for me: protecting the Internet infrastructure, and protecting the economy from Internet related crime. I've continued to study this field and advise industry participants in the years since then. The 2017-02-20 paper by Annemarie Bridy entitled Notice and Takedown in the Domain Name System: ICANN's Ambivalent Drift into Online Content Regulation deserves an answer, which I shall attempt here. more»

Diversity of View or Unacceptable Inconsistency in the Application of UDRP Law

The general run of Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy (UDRP) decisions are unremarkable. At their least, they are primarily instructive in establishing the metes and bounds of lawful registration of domain names. A few decisions stand out for their acuity of reasoning and a few others for their lack of it. The latest candidate of the latter class is NSK LTD. v. Li shuo, FA170100 1712449 (Forum February 16, 2017)... It is an example of inconsistency in the application of law. more»

When Two Trademarks Aren't Confusingly Similar to One Trademark

As I've written before, domain name disputes involving multiple trademarks sometimes raise interesting issues, including whether a panel can order a domain name transferred to one entity without consent of the other. While panels typically have found ways to resolve this issue, one particularly troubling fact pattern arises when a panel denies a complaint simply because a disputed domain name contains trademarks owned by two different entities. more»

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