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What is the UDRP?

The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1999. It is an online procedure for resolving complaints made by trademark owners about domain names. It has the power to transfer the domain name from the current domain holder to a new owner.

The UDRP Policy explains what trademark owners have to prove in order to take a domain name away from the holder, as well as what domain name holders can use to show that they should be allowed to keep the domain registration.

The UDRP Rules outline the actual process for filing a complaint (if you are a trademark owner) and for responding to a complaint (if you are the domain name holder). The Policy and the Rules also explain some of the basics of the proceedings, such as how to chose a Provider, how Panels make their decisions, how the parties are notified of the outcome, what language will be used in the proceeding, the availability and effect of court proceedings, and the types of remedies available.

Each of the Providers also has its own Supplemental Rules to cover all the bases. The UDRP currently applies to .biz, .com, .info, .org, .net, and a few country code top level domains (ccTLDs) including .ac, .mx, and .tv. Other top level domains have different dispute resolution procedures and one must check each domain registry to find out what they are.

Amy Bender
Harvard Law School '03

For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions about UDRP.

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