UDRP complaints have become top-of-mind for cybersecurity business leaders around the world. A World Intellectual Property Organization report states that 2022 was the worst year for cybersquatting complaints, recording a 10% rise over 2021. Over 5,500 complaints demonstrate that cybersquatters have become more prolific in their attacks, which many industry experts attribute to the digital transformation and network expansion as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scammers are more and more frequently imitating or distorting the domains of established brands to trap unsuspecting customers. Their intention behind mimicking brand domains ranges from stealing customer data, to redirecting customers to a competitor’s page, to manipulating potential customers to purchasing fake goods and services. Cybersquatting can also wreak more harm than just loss of sales—it can erode the trust people have in a brand.
Genuine brands can leverage the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) to take on scammers. The UDRP is a set of internationally accepted processes and conventions governing all disputes regarding the registration and ownership of domain names. It applies to all top-level domains, such as .com, .net, and .org, apart from some country code top-level domains.
In this blog, we’ll take you through all the details of a UDRP complaint so that you can better protect your business and brand.
What is a UDRP Complaint?
To build a broad-based, internationally accepted framework to deal with domain name and trademark disputes, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) instituted the UDRP in 1999.
It provides a set of rules that define the administrative procedures for each stage of the dispute resolution process. However, the framework does not intend to deal with cases of competing rights or overarching the jurisdiction of courts.
Companies can file a UDRP complaint if they come across a domain name registration that infringes on their trademark. If a successful UDRP complaint and takedown process is followed, the ownership of the infringing domain is transferred to the brand, effectively shutting out the squatters.
Handled by third-party resolution providers such as WIPO and NAF, a UDRP complaint is a private, binding arbitration that can lead to only one of two resolutions—domain name cancellation or transfer.
What are the Three Critical Elements of a UDRP Complaint?
Your UDRP complaint must prove the existence of these three factors, without which the transfer of domain ownership will not proceed:
- The domain name in question is overly similar to your business’s trademark or service mark.
- The entity you’re filing a complaint against has no legitimate interests concerning the disputed domain name.
- The domain name is registered and used in bad faith.
The inherent vagueness of the third factor can make it hard to prove the other party’s true intentions. But here are a few examples you can use to demonstrate the evidence of bad faith:
- The domain was expressly registered with the ill intention of either reselling it or renting it out to your business or your competitor for a higher price.
- A competitor or malefactor purchased the domain to disrupt your business.
- The infringing party purchased the domain to mimic your business and attract customers. The domain could be used to host third-party advertisements, collect customer data, or sell their products.
Without adequate knowledge and evidence, the UDRP can become a complex mix of processes. As a brand, you must proactively identify typosquatters, collect evidence against them, and remove their domains.
What are the Financial Costs Associated with Filing a UDRP Complaint?
The costs of filing the UDRP complaint vary based on the third-party provider, the number of contested domains, and the number of panelists deciding your case.
- WIPO: For fewer than five domain names, WIPO charges $1,500 for a single-member panel and $4,000 for a three-member panel. These costs escalate to $2,000 and $5,000 for 6-10 domains.
- NAF: Five or fewer domains will cost $1,450 for a single panelist and $2,900 for three panelists. Up to 10 domains will net a charge of $1,800 and $3,600, respectively.
- ADNDRC: The charges for filing a UDRP complaint with the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre start from $1,300 for a single-member panel and $2,800 for a three-member panel.
- ACDNDR: The costs for filing at the Arab Center for Domain Name Dispute Resolution begin at a minimum of $1,500.
What is the Process for Filing a UDRP Complaint?
The process to file a UDRP complaint requires attention to detail to ensure the most efficient threat-takedown as possible.
You must choose a third-party dispute resolution provider from this list of approved service providers. Most of them offer online forms, which will include details such as names and identification of all the relevant stakeholders involved in the process, including your legal counsel, the disputed domain, and your evidence against the infringing party, as well as the number of panelists you want. Also, you can include here if you wish to takedown the domain outright or get the ownership transferred.
If you want to file a UDRP complaint against multiple domains, then make sure all those domains are registered with the same party. If different parties are involved, you’ll need to fill out different forms for each.
How Long Do UDRP Proceedings Usually Take?
Generally, most UDRP complaints get resolved within 6-8 weeks, but it can take much longer if the complaint evolves into a lawsuit.
Upon filing the UDRP form, the service provider will confirm all the details. If something needs to be added, you’ll be asked to amend and refile the form within five days. Once the complaint is validated, a copy is sent to the domain registrar and the respondent.
The respondent is expected to file a response within 20 days, and if they fail to meet the deadline, they’ll be considered defaulters and immediately lose ownership.
If they reply within 20 days, the panel members will take up to two weeks to resolve the conflict and deliver a verdict. Depending on the judgment, the registrar can be asked to cancel the domain or transfer it to your name.
How Can Domain Scanning Technology Help in the UDRP Complaint Process?
While the UDRP has played a vital role in ensuring the safety of brands and their trademarks, the entire process can be lengthy, tedious, and expensive. Moreover, not having access to the proper evidence can prolong the resolution and reduce your chances of a favorable verdict.
Bolster is an AI-powered digital protection solution that scours the web to detect infringing domains and initiate takedowns automatically. The industry-leading internet scanning technology continuously monitors domain threats across 1,000+ legacy and new gTLDs and ccTLDs. Bolster collects active and passive DNS, zone and WHOIS files, and SSL certificates and tabulates them in visually rich reports that are easy-to-use across your business. Additionally, Bolster conducts automatic takedowns of internet threats and domain infringement instances within minutes.
To learn more about Bolster and how we can protect your digital brand from typosquatters, book a demo today.