Domain Name Disputes

The advent of glob­al­iza­tion and the inter­net has brought much inno­va­tions and ben­e­fits to us. Today, the world has gone small­er and data research are but at the tips of our hands. We can now access var­i­ous web­sites that pro­vide us with the infor­ma­tion we need. Busi­ness was also rev­o­lu­tion­ized by the inter­net as more and more com­pa­nies adver­tise and sell their prod­ucts online. Along with these ben­e­fits came nov­el prob­lems and con­flicts. One such con­flict is the domain name dis­pute. To under­stand domain name dis­putes, you must first under­stand what domain names are. Domain names are sim­ply the inter­net address of a web­site such as yahoo.com or google.com. Often­times, domain names not only help to iden­ti­fy the web­site and the cor­po­ra­tion oper­at­ing it, they have also has become a trade­mark for the busi­ness.

Domain name dis­putes arose when peo­ple start­ed abus­ing and tak­ing advan­tage of domain names. A phe­nom­e­non called cyber­squat­ting hap­pened where peo­ple who are not at all con­nect­ed to a com­pa­ny or a per­son reg­is­ters a domain name sim­i­lar to that company’s or person’s name. They exploit the first-come, first-served pol­i­cy of domain name reg­is­tra­tion there­by pre­vent­ing the com­pa­ny or the per­son to use their name as an address for their web­site. Cyber­squat­ters often­times auc­tion the domain names or sell them at high­er prices to the per­son or com­pa­ny involved but in the end the cyber­squat­ters still use the domain name and use the name of the com­pa­ny or per­son to attract peo­ple to their sites.

There are var­i­ous ways to resolve domain name dis­putes such as going to a com­pe­tent court or to a domain name dis­pute res­o­lu­tion ser­vice provider. Most domain name dis­pute res­o­lu­tion ser­vice provider fol­lows the Uni­form Domain Name Dis­pute Res­o­lu­tion Pol­i­cy (UDRP) adopt­ed by ICANN or Inter­net Cor­po­ra­tion for Assigned Names and Num­bers, an orga­ni­za­tion that man­ages gener­ic top lev­el domain names such as .com, .net or .org. Under the UDRP, a com­plainant may file a case and spec­i­fy the domain name in dis­pute, the respon­dent or hold­er of the domain name, the reg­is­trar with whom the domain name was reg­is­tered and the grounds for the com­plaint. Some grounds for com­plaint include the sim­i­lar­i­ty or con­fus­ing nature of the domain name with respect to the trade­mark or ser­vice mark of the com­plainant, the rights of the com­plainant over the domain name, and the bad faith of the respon­dent in reg­is­ter­ing the domain name.

A res­o­lu­tion dis­pute ser­vice provider usu­al­ly appoints a pan­elist that is con­sid­ered a neu­tral expert to resolve the dis­pute. Upon the instance of either of the par­ties, a pan­elist may be replaced if there are any objec­tions against him from the par­ties. The par­ties may choose if they want one, two or three pan­elists to resolve the case. The pan­elists usu­al­ly rule either to can­cel or to trans­fer the domain name or to allow the domain name to be in the cus­tody of the respon­dent. The deci­sion of the res­o­lu­tion dis­pute ser­vice provider is bind­ing as accred­it­ed reg­is­ters are bound to imple­ment them with­in 10 days from the final deci­sion. The par­ties are free to bring their cas­es to a court of com­pe­tent juris­dic­tion for an inde­pen­dent res­o­lu­tion. Res­o­lu­tion dis­pute ser­vice providers award no mon­e­tary dam­ages nor give injunc­tive relief but they gen­er­al­ly cost less than ordi­nary lit­i­ga­tion. Once filed, a domain name dis­pute is resolved in just two months.

Leave a Reply