Domain Name Disputes and Its Nature

A domain name dispute occurs when there is a complainant of an existing domain. Usually, it involves violation of trademark such as confusion or high degree of similarity with the domain name and a trademark of an existing brand or company. Domain name disputes is rampant due to cybersquatters who registered domain names with similar names to top brands or person in order to use it for profit through PPC (pay-per-click), adult content or link exchanges.

Just like with my previous post, about Microsoft filing a case against the UK-based internet company and its number of domain containing the name “bing” and using it in gaining profit through PPC. When it comes to domain names, it is not enough that you are the first person to register that domain name, trademarks are protected even in the internet and if your domain name shows that it has been used in bad faith and it leads confusion or with high similarity to an existing trademark then Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) steps in to settle the complaints on a domain name.

So what are the factors UDRP considers in taking actions of a domain dispute:

  • Whether the domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights.
  • Whether the respondent has any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name (for example, the legitimate offering of goods and services under the same name).
  • Whether the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith .

The UDRP consists a panelists of experts in domain and trademark settlement and it involves an extensive administrative process in determining the result of the dispute. the panelists decision is in accordance with the law and the domain holder/owner is being ordered to return the domain name to the trademark owner if the complainant has been found to right with his accusations but in the case if there has been no bad faith found or similarity of trademark or a generic domain name then the domain holder can retain his rights to the domain names.

An example of a generic domain name would be “dogfoods.com”, you will be having a hard time convincing the panelists of UDRP of a domain dispute but it does not mean that your case will not heard. Common domain disputes are those belonging to celebrities and popular companies. If you are planning in using a trademark as a domain name without permission then it is wise not to do it at all because it can end of waste of time and money and you might be asked to give up all the rights of the website once the trademark owner discovers it.

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