UDRP stands for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). A UDRP Complaint is made when someone believes a domain name has been purchased and is being used in a harmful way.

If someone has registered a domain name in a generic top-level domain (gTLD) operated under contract with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) that you believe may be infringing on your trademark, you may be able to file a UDRP proceeding against the registrant.

UDRP proceedings start when someone files a complaint in with either the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The UDRP provides a mandatory, low-cost administrative procedure primarily to resolve claims of abusive, bad faith domain name registration. In other situations, disputes may need to be resolved by traditional means such as voluntary negotiation and lawsuits. There are various filing fees, which vary by the organization, the number of domains being disputed, and the number of panelists to hear the case.

To prevail in an UDRP proceeding, the Complainant must establish the following three elements:

1. The respondent’s domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;

2. The respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in the domain name;

3. The respondent registered and is using the domain in bad faith.

A URDP Complaint limited to a transfer of the domain(s) in question only, and no money damages are at stake. However, this type of proceeding could prompt a lawsuit based on the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), which carries the ability to obtain $100,000 in statutory damages per infringed domain.

It is recommended to seek legal advice before filing a UDRP, and to be prepared for a lawsuit if proceedings begin.

If a UDRP complaint is being filed against you, you have (typically) 20 days to provide an official answer within the appropriate governing body. The answer should repute the complaint’s arguments and provide factual basis and legal reasoning as to why your actions are not unlawful. Attorney fees can be high, so if you do choose to defend your domain purchase, make sure it is worth it.

We’ve come across UDRP related cases at DomainTrade. Have a UDRP issue? Talk to one of our experts.