Domain name disputes Proceedings at WIPO

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This article provides an insight over the issue of domain name disputes. The article covers the Domain name disputes proceedings which happens at WIPO.

Domain Names

A domain name is a thread of text that navigates to an IP address; employed to document a website from client software. Simply put, a domain name is the content that a user inputs into a browser window; to enter a specific website. For example, the domain name for Google is ‘’. The real address of a website is a complicated IP address made up of numericals; but due to DNS; users are equipped to input human-friendly domain names and be transmitted to the websites they are searching for. This method is recognized as a DNS lookup or search

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Domain name disputes

Managing Domain Names:

Domain names are all governed by domain registries, which commission the reservation of the names to registrars. Any entity or individual who wishes to build a website can register a domain name with a registrar.  Presently there exist over 300 million registered domain names.

Anatomy of a Domain Name:

Domain names are generally disassembled into two or three components; each segregated by a dot. When read right-to-left, the identifiers in the names go from most common components to the most distinct one.

The component to the right of the last dot in a domain name; is the is known as a Top-Level Domain (TLD).

These encompass the ‘generic’ TLDs like ‘.com’, ‘.net’, and ‘.org’, as well as country-specific TLDs such as ‘.uk’ and ‘.jp’.

To the left of the TLD is the component known as the Second-Level Domain (2LD); and if there is a component to the left of these Level Domains; it is known as the Third-Level Domain (3LD).

WIPO Internet Domain Name Process

WIPO was petitioned, originally by United States, to examine the likelihoods of filling this domain name disputes; and in 1998 it supervised the first WIPO Internet Domain Name Process. This was an accessible international method of talks pertaining to feasible strategies; and procedures for curbing and resolving domain name conflicts. 

The ensuing Report of the First WIPO Internet Domain Name Process encompassed a succession of suggestions negotiating with domain name; and trademark topics. Subsequently with WIPO’s suggestions, ICANN approved the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy on August 26, 1999.

The UDRP gives proprietors of trademark rights an executive mechanism for the profitable resolution of conflicts; occurring out of bad faith registration and practice by third parties of domain names resembling those trademark rights.

UDRP Procedure:

The UDRP as a Policy is effected by the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP Rules); and by the dispute resolution service provider’s supplemental regulations.

The WIPO Center has formulated the WIPO Supplemental Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (WIPO Supplemental Rules) ; which complete the UDRP and the UDRP Rules on a various procedural problems. The UDRP method is formulated for domain name disputes that fulfill the following criteria:

(i) the domain name enrolled by the domain name registrant is similar or confusingly; identical to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has privileges and ownership; and

(ii) the domain name registrant has no freedoms or legal interests in regard of the domain name in issue, and

(iii) the domain name has been enrolled and is being employed in bad faith.

Stages of UDRP Procedure:

The deliberation under UDRP takes close to 80 days to complete as the process goes through substantial stages of examination. Once the WIPO centre acknowledges the receipt of the complaint; the complaint compliance review takes close to 3 days to complete.

Herein the WIPO Centre checks the complaint for administrative compliance with the UDRP. Once approved, the administrative proceeding commence wherein the WIPO Centre notifies compliant and commencement of proceedings to the respondent.

Here, the respondent is given 20 days to respond to the complaint. If the response is received by the Centre then the same is acknowledged by the Centre, however; if no response is received the Centre issues a Notification of respondent default.

The next stage of the procedure is to establish the adjudicating panel. The Center requests a single-member or three-member panel in agreement with designation in the complaint; and response, and in turn appoints the panel after receiving the statement of Acceptance and Declaration of Impartiality and Independence.

The panel gives its judgment to WIPO Center within 14 days from date of panel nomination; and the latter notifies this judgement to the relevant parties, registrar and ICANN. Finally, the Registrar executes the decision as required under paragraph 4(k) of the UDRP.

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Advocate Rahul Dev is a Patent Attorney & International Business Lawyer practicing Technology, Intellectual Property & Corporate Laws. He is reachable at rd (at) patentbusinesslawyer (dot) com & @rdpatentlawyer on Twitter.

Quoted in and contributed to 50+ national & international publications (Bloomberg, FirstPost, SwissInfo, Outlook Money, Yahoo News, Times of India, Economic Times, Business Standard, Quartz, Global Legal Post, International Bar Association, LawAsia, BioSpectrum Asia, Digital News Asia, e27, Leaders Speak, Entrepreneur India, VCCircle, AutoTech).

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