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Domain Names And Arbitration

By: Gabe Meierotto

As the Internet has continued to grow and more and more individuals become domainers, legal disputes have increased as well. Disputes can take many forms, but often they are concerning abusive registration, whether the abuse is intentional or accidental. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was formed in 1998 and within a year had formed the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP). When you register a domain name with ICANN you must submit to mandated arbitration using the UDRP if a complaint is brought about against you. However, it is not required that complaints be brought to them exclusively or even at all.

Domain name disputes can be addressed through courts of appropriate jurisdiction, arbitration, or agreement reached jointly by both parties. If the ICANN route is chosen, the UDRP is utilized and one of currently four approved providers must administer the case. These providers are the National Arbitration Forum, the World Intellectual Property Organization, Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre, and The Czech Arbitration Court.

Domain experts say that utilizing the ICANN complaint route over litigation allows both parties more advantages. To begin with the cost is significantly less than litigation. There is also more flexibility and no limitations on evidence and jurisdiction. Additionally, the ICANN complaint process takes a few short weeks to complete versus possible months or even years in court via litigation. Along with the pros, the process also has its share of cons. For example, panel decisions are discretionary and there is also a lack of appeal and restrictions on remedies.

If a negative determination is made via the UDRP, ICANN will wait ten days before implementing its decision against the losing party. If within that timeframe a case is filed with the appropriate court of jurisdiction, and proof of this is presented to ICANN, no action will taken until the case is resolved in court or an agreement is reached by both parties.

Various companies can be found via an Internet search that can provide guidance on domain name disputes. These organizations can provide their clients with domain solutions that include but are not limited to; overseeing transfers, negotiating sales and purchases, domain escrow, drafting agreements, and arbitration proceedings.

 

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