ICANN has an established policy for resolving disputes regarding domain names. The Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) provides a framework for any dispute between parties (excluding registrars) over the registration and use of an Internet domain name.
The purpose of the UDRP is to provide a clear and fast method to resolve domain disputes. Disputes under the UDRP are decided in an administrative proceeding under one of ICANN's approved providers.
To succeed on your UDRP claim you must prove the following:
- The domain name registered is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or servicemark in which the complainant has rights; and
- The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith
To prove the domain name is identical of confusing similar you do not have to actually have a Patent and Trademark Registration. Rather, you can show you hold a common law trademark right in the domain name by a showing of continuing and ongoing use of the domain as well as evidence that shows the domain name has sufficient secondary meaning.
Examples of bad faith registration include, but are not limited to:
- Registering and using a domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor
- Intentionally attempting to attract, for commercial gain, internet users by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's domain
- Hacking and/or stealing a domain name
An experienced lawyer can help you evaluate and navigate your options if you or your business has a dispute regarding a domain name.