The term ‘UDRP’ has been floating around quite a bit recently since there’s been a surge of UDRP complaints. In one of our earlier blog posts on the subject, we spoke about companies such as Canyon filing for UDRP. Off late, everyone from Hollywood celebrities to football stars, wants a share. We’re here to tell you a little more about what the policy is & the celebrities filing them. The Uniform Domain Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (or the UDRP as it is called) is a set of guidelines used by ICANN that protects trademark companies/ brands from cybersquatting by third parties.
There are only certain conditions under which a UDRP can be filed:
- If the trademark/ brand is damaged as a result of an identical or confusingly similar domain name
- If the current registrant does not have any relevant interests regarding the domain name
- If the current registrant uses the domain name in “bad faith”
So what qualifies “bad faith”?
- domain names registered for the primary purpose of selling, renting or transferring the domain names registration to a complainant (trademark owner or competitor) for a huge amount of money
- domain names registered with the intention to damage the business of a competitor
- domain names used to intentionally trick consumers to visit website or other websites for commercial gains
Hollywood youth icons, Kylie & Kendall Jenner recently got control of their domains www.kyliejenner.com & www.kendalljenner.com through UDRPs filed. The domain owner of both was an individual from India who registered the domains 4 days after the show which stars the sisters (Keeping Up With the Kardashians) was aired. The UDRP panel found the domain names to be registered in bad faith.
Even before the Jenner sisters were filing UDRP complaints, soccer star & international celebrity, Lionel Messi was on it, filing for www.lionelmessi.com & www.Messi.com along with DJ & pop artist, Calvin Harris filing for www.calvinharris.com.
Lady Gaga was left with a poker face after losing a bid to gain control of www.ladygaga.org. The rejection was on the basis that the domain name pointed to a non-profit fan page, not meeting the conditions of the policy. The Respondent was allowed to keep the domain name on those grounds. Guess she Couldn’t Give Anything But Love!
In the past, the ‘Pat Benatar’ in 2004 taught us a few things about “loopholes” in this policy when a panel refused to transfer www.patbenatar.org to Mr. Pat Benatar on similar grounds such as ‘fan site’. Surprisingly, the owner of the domain name also owns 700 other “celebrity” sites including www.amywinehouse.org, www.benstiller.org, www.zac-efron.net, www.sarahjessicaparker.org and www.terri-hatcher.net on the basis similar basis.
As a domain reseller, ensure that you and your clients do a thorough background check on the guidelines of the policy before filing. In all probability, an owner of a “sham site” like this could very well know the UDRP policy inside out & find loopholes, making it difficult to call out the bluff on such a site. So, be alert to cybersquatting for your benefit & for you celebrities, brands & trademarks, it would be wise to snap up your domain name in the Sunrise phase – the one exclusively for privileged ones like yourself so things in The Fame Kingdom are Under Control 😉
Comment & tell us if you think domain squatting can be avoided if trademarks act more vigilantly during the Sunrise period.