A good domain name is valuable. Many multi-billion dollar businesses began as a URL and an idea. So it’s little wonder that domain disputes can get ugly.
Protect Your Domains, Legally
Our team of Internet lawyers is well-versed in domain dispute litigation, URL intellectual property and cybersquatting law. We’ve also brokered large-scale domain sales and negotiated favorable settlements in domain-related lawsuits.
The Nature Of Domain Disputes
Internet domains work like real estate speculation — but instead of terra firma, it involves staking out exclusive sections of the Internet for development. Each domain has two types of “identifiers” — an alpha-numeric identifier (i.e., 172.16.254.1) and string (i.e., yoururlhere.com).
Problems usually arise when one party feels another party is using a confusingly similar domain name to a copyrighted or trademarked name or title.
A Short History Of Domain Dispute Law
Since the late 1990s, the Internet has been a bit like the Wild, Wild West. Whoever got to a stake or parcel first, won the claim. This, of course, created problems for companies who had already gone to great lengths to stakeout brands, copyrights, patents and trademarks associated with business names.
Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act
Due to the increase in cybersquatting cases, officials passed the federal Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which allows trademark holders to control domains with the same names. Fortune 500 companies and small start-ups have used the law extensively to protect their digital intellectual property.
Available Domain Dispute Options
Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Process
Any individual or business — no matter the size — can file a complaint with ICANN, using the Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution (UDRP) process.
UDRP cases are usually decided within 2 to 3 months and can cost anywhere between $1,500 to $10,000 depending on the number of sites being disputed and the number of panelists reviewing the case.
If you do decide to use the UDRP process, it’s usually best to consult with a domain dispute attorney beforehand.
Intellectual Property Lawsuit
The UDRP process does have its limitations, and sometimes it’s best to file a domain dispute claim via the U.S. judicial process. That said, a lawsuit can sometimes be a long, drawn out process — a point to consider when deciding how to attack your domain dispute issue. On the other hand, a lawsuit can end up costing less than a UDRP hearing — especially if you win and the defendant is ordered to pay your legal fees.
Domain Dispute Arbitration
The pleading company can contact the current domain owner and try to buy the domain address. Depending how popular the address may seem, and how obvious the business makes its interest, this approach can be expensive. However, if the purchase works, the company gets its desired address quicker.
What A Domain Dispute Attorney Can Do
A skilled cybersquatting lawyer can navigate and settle domain disputes; they can also put legal safeguards in place that will make it impossible for others to infringe on your domain rights once you’ve obtained your desired URL.
A domain dispute attorney can help you with the UDRP process, initiate domain negotiations, or file a full-fledged domain dispute lawsuit on your behalf. Having a lawyer well-versed in Internet law — and the things that can be demanded versus negotiated — is often a critical part of winning a domain dispute.
Bottom line: Hiring the right domain dispute attorney will save your startup or business many headaches and wasted time.