Registering a Domain Name

October 12, 2010, 10:04 AM

Selecting and registering a domain name is a quick process which can be completed online in a matter of minutes. No checks are done by the registrar to prevent entities from registering domain names which contain trademarks belonging to other entities. As more and more domain names are registered, disputes continue to arise over who has the right to register which domain names.

Many of these domain name disputes are resolved under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The UDRP was instituted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) which is the world-wide governing body for domain names. All domain name registrars are bound by the UDRP, and by registering a domain name through any such registrar, the registrant agrees to follow the UDRP for disputes as well.

The UDRP requires domain name disputes to be submitted to mandatory administrative proceedings before an administrative dispute resolution service provider. Examples of such providers are Word Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the National Arbitration Forum. Both providers publish their domain name decisions online.

If you determine that someone has registered a domain name which uses your trademarks, a good place to start your investigation of that registrant is by searching the databases maintained by WIPO and the National Arbitration Forum of their domain name decisions. That way you can tell if other entities already have arbitrated with that same registrant and whether the registrant was successful in keeping other domain names which it registered. --Kristan B. Burch