1. Basics of the Domain Dispute Process
2. Timeline for Resolving a Dispute

The domain name dispute process involves several different steps, including filing a formal complaint. Resolving the dispute will occur based on the rules of the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy.

Basics of the Domain Dispute Process

Policies for domain name disputes can apply to a variety of disagreements. In general, these disputes involve the person who registered the domain name and a third party that wishes to challenge the registration. When someone wishes to challenge a domain name registration, they will need to submit their dispute with the correct service provider.

To help clarify the rules for disputing a domain name, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, adopted a temporary specification for GTLD (generic top-level domains) registration data in 2018. The rules described in the temporary specification apply to Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Process (UDRP) proceedings filed after July 2015. Disputes filed before this date will be subject to the old rules.

Under these new rules, there is a specific procedure for challenging a domain name based on trademark ownership. Before a domain name can be canceled, the dispute must reach a resolution in one of three ways:

  1. An agreement between the two parties.
  2. A court order to cancel the domain name.
  3. Completion of the arbitration process.

If you hold trademark rights, you can file a dispute against someone that you believe is abusing domain name registrations. The benefit of the UDRP is that it speeds up the process of resolving domain name disputes.

Domain name disputes taken to court take much longer to resolve and can be too expensive for many trademark holders. UDRP proceedings, on the other hand, typically cost around $750, and resolution can take 45 days or less. The UDRP also makes it much easier to file a domain name dispute internationally, as submitting a complaint is very simple.

Although many people will want to hire an attorney to dispute a domain name, the UDRP rules were designed so that anyone can file a complaint without legal representation. Trademark holders also have the option to challenge a domain name using the UDRP. Owners of a domain name, on the other hand, have to use these rules when challenging a registration.

If a trademark owner wants to make use of the UDRP, they have two options. First, they can submit a court complaint against the owner of the domain name. The trademark holder should be sure that they are filing their complaint in the right jurisdiction. Second, if the complaint is based on registration abuses, the filing should occur with a service provider approved to resolve these disputes.

Timeline for Resolving a Dispute

After filing a domain name dispute, you can expect a resolution to your complaint within 60 days. This timeline can be extended at the discretion of the panel hearing your case.

The timeline for resolving your complaint will begin the moment you file your dispute. You will need to choose a provider to resolve your dispute and then submit your complaint. You also need to send a copy of your complaint to the person that owns the domain name. You can find the domain owner's address by searching the “Who is” database of the domain registrar.

Once the provider has received your complaint, they will review your filing to make sure it complies with the UDRP guidelines. Your complaint will move forward if you have followed these rules. If not, you must correct your complaint within five days or it will be withdrawn. Three days after you've filed your complaint, the provider should provide a copy to the domain name registrar and to the person named in the complaint.

Twenty calendar days later, the dispute proceeding will begin. During the proceeding, the party against whom the complaint was lodged will have an opportunity to respond. They will need to explain why their domain name ownership should continue, and they will need to address all claims listed in the complaint. If the domain owner does not respond to the complaint, they will lose ownership of their domain by default.

After a response has been made, the provider must name a panel within five days. Two weeks after being appointed, the panel must reach a decision about the complaint.

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