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.