So You Got a UDRP
A UDRP or Uniform Domain Name Dispute-Resolution Policy complaint can be very unsettling. Many people don’t understand what it means when they receive one of these, much less how to respond to it. Let’s find out what a UDRP complaint is and what to do if you receive a UDRP.
What is UDRP?
The UDRP was established by ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to handle disputes having to do with the registration of domain names. If you receive a UDRP complaint, it means that someone believes that your domain name infringes upon a trademark.
When you register a domain name, there is no guarantee that the name isn’t a violation of an existing trademark. Domain registrars do not check for this. They will allow you to register any unclaimed domain name. That’s why people sometimes get an unpleasant surprise when they are the recipients of a UDRP complaint.
When Are UDRP Complaints Likely to Occur?
You are most likely to receive this type of complaint if your domain name is a well known brand or person’s name. That’s why it’s never a good idea to use a popular or corporate name in a domain. Some people do this in order to sell products related to the brand, or to associate themselves with the brand. Some obvious examples would be domains such as ebaystore.com or applerepairs.com.
Yet it’s possible to receive an UDRP complaint even if you haven’t committed such an obvious transgression. Your domain name might contain a trademark of which you were unaware. No matter what the circumstances, you have to be ready to respond in the right way.
What to do if You Receive a UDRP Complaint
First of all, a UDRP complaint is not a lawsuit or a criminal charge. Nor is it associated with any government body. That’s the good news. The bad news is that these actions can be accompanied by lawsuits that can be legally enforced.
One response is to consult with an attorney who has experience with domain name disputes. This would be wise if you have a valuable domain name that you feel you are justified in possessing. On the other hand, attorneys can be expensive.
Another response is to simply agree to the terms of the complaint and relinquish the domain. This would be the best response if, after consideration or consulting with an attorney, you conclude that the other party is entitled to the domain name.
Still another option is to negotiate on your own with the complainant. This can be done independently, or with the help of an organization such as the National Arbitration Forum. You may be able to resolve the issue amicably. In some cases, you may agree to give up the domain in exchange for a payment.
Every UDRP Case is Different
There are no hard and fast rules regarding UDRP. There are some unscrupulous people who engage in a practice known as reverse domain hijacking. This involves sending out UDRP complaints without just cause in the attempt to intimidate domain owners into giving up their domains. If you suspect this is happening to you, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney.
Once you understand what is UDRP it’s easier to know what to do if you receive a UDRP complaint. It’s best to not panic and respond in a logical, well considered manner.