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How to File a Domain Name Dispute Complaint

To file a complaint, the complainant must select a dispute resolution service provider from the ICANN approved list and submit a complaint through that provider. A complainant in a UDRP proceeding must establish three elements to succeed:

  • The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights;
  • The registrant does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name; and The registrant registered the domain name and is using it in "bad faith."

The most important hurdle for a UDRP claimant is overcoming the "bad faith" requirement.  In a UDRP proceeding, a panel will consider several non-exclusive factors to assess bad faith, such as:

  • Whether the registrant registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark;
  • Whether the registrant registered the domain name to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, if the domain name owner has engaged in a pattern of such conduct; and
  • Whether the registrant registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or
  • Whether by using the domain name, the registrant has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, internet users to the registrant's website, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark.

Within ten (10) days of the UDRP panel's decision, the losing party may file a federal court action to prevent the panel’s decision from being instituted.

*Recently the UDRP rules have been modified so that all UDRP providers must accept electonic filings by UDRP claimants and respondents as of March 1st, 2010. The original rules had required UDRP providers such as WIPO to provide hard copies of the entire complaint. As of March 1st they will only be required to forward a hard copy notice that a UDRP complaint has been filed.