Because conducting business on the internet is commonplace in todays marketplace, businesses have realized that it is extremely valuable to have a domain name that is the same as their business name or the name of their products. When a business learns that the domain name corresponding to their business name or product trademark is owned by someone else, the company can either choose a different name or fight to get the domain name back from its current owners. This fight is a domain dispute.
When a domain dispute occurs, the parties can always turn to the courts. While courts and judges have the authority to award control and ownership over domain names (just as they have authority to award control and ownership over any other property), the judicial process is notoriously slow. Because of this and as a result of lobbying, the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) was created.
Under the UDRP, a trademark owner can initiate a relatively inexpensive administrative procedure to challenge the existing domain name. In order to prevail, the trademark owner must prove three things:
If the trademark owner successfully proves all three points, then the domain name can either be cancelled or transferred to the prevailing trademark owner. If the trademark owner fails to prove one of these points, then the domain name will not be cancelled or transferred.
Many factors will influence whether a company chooses to fight for the domain name including the value of the domain name, the opposing party’s ability to fund a dispute and the odds of success. Of those factors, I believe the most important question is whether the domain name is worth the cost of fighting for it. As mentioned above, domain names can be very valuable. Many business owners and decision makers make decisions based upon their objectives and pragmatic advice. Our Firm understands the key issues of cybersquatting and domain name disputes. We provide you with advice so that you can make key decisions as well as advocate for your interests. For a free consultation or to request a quote please contact our office at (954) 903-1966 or send us an email at [email protected].
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