Dispute Resolution Service for domain names


How can you deal with the circumstances when you learn that another entity is using a domain name either identical or similar to your trademark?

The answer is amazingly simple. WIPO (the World Intellectual Property Office) offers a popular top-level domain dispute resolution service called UDRP (the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy) who address on every matter related to domain names.

How may the UDRP proceeding be used?

The UDRP can be used in connection with various generic top-level domains such as “.com,” “.info”, “.net” and “.org”, and several country code domains such as “.ch” or “.fr”. It provides an alternative to court proceedings, but it does not prevent you from filing claims directly in court for the same dispute.

Who can use the UDRP proceeding?

UDRP proceedings can be initiated by any individual or company worldwide. The UDRP can only be used to address claims of fraudulent registration of domain names.

that the following conditions must be met cumulatively:

  • The domain name registered by the domain name registrant is identical or similar to a trademark or service mark owned by the complaining party;
  • The domain name registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in question; and
  • The domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

One must be able to submit evidence of the Registrant’s bad faith when filing a complaint.

A non-exhaustive list of what constitutes  bad faith is included in the UDPR policy as guidelines, among which the registration of a domain name with the purpose of selling it to the owner of the trademark, preventing use in connection with a trademark/service mark, and deliberately interfering with a competitor’s business.

Therefore, if someone registers a domain name similar to any trademark in your portfolio then you as the owner have the right to forbid them from using it and either (1) transfer it to you following a UDRP proceeding, or (2) eliminate it completely.

Cosmovici IP’s input on domain name dispute

We’ve recently assisted in such a dispute resolution case. One of the leaders in Swiss chocolate manufacturing, who owns numerous worldwide intellectual property rights. The chocolate manufacturer filed a UDRP complaint against a natural person who registered the domain name “laderachshop.com”, by fully infringing our client’s IP rights, in bad faith, aiming to create confusion and false association with our client’s trademarks, as well as to sell the domain name at a much higher cost to the rightful owner of the trademark.

This practice, also known as cybersquatting, is often performed by individuals or juridical entities by registering, selling, or using a domain name with the sole intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark owner. More specifically, it  is the act of purchasing domain names which contain the trademarks and the company names of actual businesses and vending the domain names to those companies for a profit.

Thus, through the submitted arguments, we helped the client to quickly obtain a decision by which the Panel established that the disputed domain name had been registered and used in bad faith and consequently ordered the transfer of the domain name into our client’s portfolio.

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