If you have a portfolio of domain name investments, I think it is important to follow UDRP filings and decisions at the World Intellectual Property Organization and National Arbitration Forum. Hopefully you will never have a UDRP filed against one of your domain names, but it is a good idea to understand how the proceedings work and what panelists look at when they are making a decision.
I would say the majority of UDRP filings are pretty cut and dry. People buy an obvious trademark typo or they buy the exact trademark of a well known brand in a different extension, and the company files a UDRP proceeding to take possession of the name in a prompt manner. I think that is why the UDRP process was created. For the most part, the UDRP panel is going to find in favor of the trademark holder. Oftentimes, the domain owner doesn’t even spend the time or money even responding to the UDRP.
There are many UDRP filings that aren’t nearly as cut and dry and are interesting to follow. I am closely watching for UDRP decisions on domain names like iPayments.com and Stages.com. In my opinion, iPayments.com is very defensible and I don’t see how a company should be able to win a UDRP for a descriptive domain name like Stages.com.
Because the UDRP decision process isn’t always predictable, it’s important to read the decisions and try to understand how panelists think. Every domain name has a certain level of risk associated with it, and it is good to know what threats might come with the domain name.
If someone asked me, I would advise them to use an experienced domain name attorney to fight a UDRP or other legal threat. However, it is still good to know what you can expect if a UDRP is filed against one of your domain names.
I think the UDRP system is occasionally abused by people and companies who seem to treat it as a means of acquiring a domain name for less than its value. Unfortunately, that means that domain name owners and domain investors need to know their rights and know how to best protect their domain name assets. By following along with UDRP filings and decisions, a domain owner is more educated about how the process works and how to best respond to a UDRP.