Glossary of Domain Name Disputes

The domain name dispute resolution system was supposed to be user-friendly, but this goal has not always been achieved. One of the main barriers to effective access has been the jargon that has grown up around the system. To successfully negotiate the system you must need to know the differences between registrants, registrars and registries; you must not confuse your UDRP with your ACPA; and you’ll need to be able to choose between NAF and WIPO should it become necessary.

Abusive registration:

This is a key concept under the Nominet Dispute Resolution Policy; there is no concept of an abusive registration under the UDRP (although see the entry on bad faith). An abusive registration is one which was registered or acquired or has subsequently been used “in a manner which took unfair advantage of or was unfairly detrimental to the Complainant’s Rights”.

ACPA:

See the entry on the Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act.

ADR:

ADR stands for alternative dispute resolution. In the domain name dispute context, arbitration proceedings are sometimes called ADR proceedings, especially in EURid documentation.

Alternative dispute resolution:

See the entry on ADR.

Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act:

A US law enacted on 29 November 1999. It amended the Lanham Act – the centrepiece of US trade mark legislation – and forms section 43d. The ACPA may – in certain circumstances – be applied to your case by the US courts, even if you’re not a citizen of or based in the US.

Arbitration:

Domain name arbitration is the contractually-based system of dispute resolution used to determine disputes about the proper ownership of domain names. It is distinct from traditional arbitration: a sophisticated system of private dispute resolution proceedings commonly used to determine international contractual disputes.

Bad faith:

Under the UDRP a successful complainant must prove that the domain name was registered or is being used in bad faith. The concept of bad faith is not defined in the UDRP; however four examples of circumstances which are evidence of bad faith are given, and I have (crudely) summarised these below. First, circumstances indicating that the respondent intended to sell the domain name to the complainant are evidence of bad faith. Second, so-called “blocking” registrations are evident of bad faith, providing they are part of a pattern of such registrations. Third, evidence of bad faith may be found in registrations intended to disrupt a competitor’s business. Finally, circumstances indicating the commercial use of a domain name which creates a likelihood of confusion between the domain name and the GR DOMAIN NAMES complainant’s mark are evidence of bad faith. The list is non-exhaustive.

Cancellation:

One of the remedies permitted under the UDRP, Nominet Policy, and the .eu Regulation, but rarely employed. The usual remedy is transfer. Cancellation is also known as revocation.

ccTLD:

This stands for country code top level domain. Examples of ccTLDs include .us, .uk and .de.

Complainant:

The person making a complaint via a domain name arbitration service about a domain name registration (analogous to a plaintiff or claimant in litigation).

Complaint:

The document setting out the complainant’s case. There are detailed rules about what must go into a complaint, and the length of complaints is strictly limited under some regimes. Typically, a complaint would include references to the provisions of the relevant policy document, a description of the factual circumstances of the case, arguments as to why the case should be found in the complaint’s favour, and references to previous decisions which support the arguments.

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