Is the Tide Turning for Domain Investors on the UDRP Front? New Data
Uncovered by Attorney Howard Neu is Promising

Is the Tide Turning for Domain Investors on the UDRP Front? New Data Uncovered by Attorney Howard Neu is Promising


 

 

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Is
the Tide Turning for Domain Investors on the
UDRP Front? New Data Uncovered by Attorney
Howard Neu is Promising

In
the course of my reading

this week I came across an article
by veteran domain attorney Howard
Neu
posted on his NeusNews.com
blog that was quite surprising. It
unveiled an encouraging trend that
bears watching in the months ahead.
Before getting into the specifics,
for those not familiar with the UDRP,
some brief background may be
helpful.

As a
domain industry attorney, Howard
frequently handles UDRP cases and
writes about developments related to
ICANN’s
Uniform Domain Name Dispute
Resolution Policy
(UDRP).
That’s the arbitration system that
resolves disputes that arise when a

Image
from Bigstock

trademark
owner claims someone’s ownership of
a particular domain name infringes
on their rights
.

If
a UDRP complaint is upheld by the arbitration
panel, the domain gets transferred
to the complainant. If they lose,
the name stays with the current
owner (the respondent) but 
even if the respondent wins the
battle they typically lose several
thousand dollars
in legal
expenses from having to defend their
property (often from a party who had
no legitimate claim to the name in
the first place). There is no
financial penalty
for filing a frivolous
UDRP complaint against someone (only
the risk of losing your own legal
fees). Worst case scenario is the
offender is ruled guilty of a reverse
domain name hijacking
attempt
and essentially told to “go
and sin no more.”

Attorney
Howard Neu
NeusNews.com

Of
course, this emboldens
others
to try their luck
at using the system to steal
valuable domain names. UDRP
panelists are just as
responsible for stopping
that from happening
as they are for stopping
the bad actors who register
domains for the purpose of
infringing on and profiting
from famous marks. 

Over
the nearly 20 years I have
been in this business, the
feeling among the vast
majority of domain investors
has been that the
deck has been stacked
against them
, as
they wound up on the losing
end of far more UDRP
decisions than they won,
something that the
statistics bore out. That’s
why the new stats in
Howard’s article caught my
eye.

After
studying nearly 200
recent cases
handled by WIPO
and THE
FORUM
(two
well-known arbitration
services), Howard found the
odds for domain owners were
evening out and even
shifting in their favor at
THE FORUM. Most cases that
are lost are uncontested
(the domain
owner simply fails to
respond 

because they can’t
afford the cost to defend
the domain or the name is
not worth that much to
them). However, in the 30
WIPO cases
that were
contested (out of 171
filed) the complainants
won only 17 of 30
much closer to a 50/50
chance for respondents
than we are used to
seeing.  In the real
shocker, at THE FORUM,
where 27 cases were filed
but only five
contested, only one
complainant won
– an 80%
success rate
for the
domain owners. Howard
emphasized that this is a
very limited data set at
this point but he will
continue to follow and
report on UDRP results
very closely. There is
much more information in his
article
,
including names of the
arbitration panelists and
how they individually
ruled in these cases.

(Posted
February 13, 2020) 

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