Friday, May 22, 2009

Obtaining Your Domain Name Back From Cybersquatters Through UDRP

A common scenario for established or new companies occurs when its primary domain name has been seized by a cybersquattor. For example, imagine your company name and trademark is “Sizaroma.” You were able to register but later,, and were registered by someone else, probably a guy in China who in bad faith, has no intention of ever using domains. Or worse, he later puts up a competing website in bad faith with similar goods and services feeding off the goodwill that you have worked so hard to create. That my friends is a cybersquatter. So what are your options? One of the best is a Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy proceeding (“UDRP”). A UDRP is like a streamlined litigation done with an arbitration panel, usually with the National Arbitration Forum or WIPO. A complaint is filed, and the cybersquatter is allowed a chance to respond. You do not have to serve the defendant like in a typical lawsuit. Nor is there a trial or any discovery. Further, there is no jurisdictional issues, so if the defendant is in China, a claim can still be made against him.

The net result is a transfer of the domain name. No money damages or injunction from using the trademark can be issued in UDRP, rather it's strictly about getting your domain name back. So the beauty of UDRP is that it is straight to the point, and can be completed within a few months rather than a long dragged out litigation that could last for a year or longer.

There are however other means for domain name disputes, such as filing a federal lawsuit under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act ("ACPA"), or perhaps a traditional trademark infringement lawsuit. An IP attorney would have to evaluate each scenario to determine the most appropriate method.