A UDRP complaint seeking arbitration to transfer a domain name which you believe is infringing your trademark mark to you and to obtain control of that domain name. A common question we often have is whether or not there is a difference between the various arbitration authorities who can hear your UDRP dispute.
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Let's say that you are going to be filing a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, a UDRP complaint seeking arbitration to transfer a domain name which you believe is infringing your trademark mark to you and to obtain control of that domain name. A common question we often have is whether or not there is a difference between the various arbitration authorities who can hear your UDRP dispute.
Let's back up. My name is Enrico Schaefer. I am a domain name dispute attorney who specializes in UDRP arbitrations and cyber squatting litigation. We get these questions all the time, but it's very important to have some context here.
The UDRP is a policy that everyone agrees to when they register certain top-level domains such as .com, .net, etc. When you register your domain name, you agree to be bound by the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and to abide by any arbitration rules if someone should file a UDRP complaint against you.
That's how you get sucked into a UDRP matter. You might think, whoa, how could they file arbitration against me? I just registered a domain name. Well, by registering that domain name you agree to be subject to the UDRP.
Now there are a variety of different authorities out there who can hear UDRP disputes. The two primary ones that we see all the time are the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO, or the National Arbitration Forum, NAF. We're often asked the question: Should I file a UDRP in WIPO or NAF?
There's not a whole lot of difference between the two arbitration authorities, and so you're often going to come out with the same result irrespective of where you file. But there are some differences. There are some differences in cost. A single member panel WIPO UDRP arbitration proceeding for a single panelist is $1,500 at the present time. At the National Arbitration Forum, NAF, the filing fee for a UDRP complaint is $1,350. But then there are some additional fees that NAF will tack on if you want to, for instance, file an additional supplemental piece of paper or pleading as a part of that arbitration. You have to factor those in.
The question about how many panelists is also pretty interesting. The respondent or the complainant can ask for a three member panel as opposed to a one member panel. That will cause the price to go up. If the respondent wants a three member WIPO or NAF panel, they're going to have to pay an additional fee and then the complainant will have already agreed that they will pick up part of that fee as well.
At WIPO, for a three member panel, you're going to pay about $4,000 if the respondent requests to have one. The complainant has to chip in $500 of that because they've already paid $1,500 as their UDRP filing fee for arbitration.
There are circumstances where you might want to pick a NAF arbitration as opposed to a WIPO arbitration for your UDRP complaint, depending on whether or not you believe there's going to be a response to the UDRP complaint that you filed. If you don't believe the defendant is going to respond, well, then the common information and advice you'll get on the Internet from Internet law attorneys, such as myself, is to go ahead and use NAF. If you're dealing with some sort of foreign language issue, oftentimes an Internet lawyer will pick WIPO on your behalf for the arbitration authority.
Keep in mind that these two arbitration authorities are very well thought of. There is a lot of overlap between the two. They both have to file the UDRP Arbitration Policy. You're going to end up pretty good in either instance. If you really want a nuanced approach though, you do need to hire a domain dispute attorney who has experience before both NAF and WIPO, who can help you choose which is going to be the better forum – UDRP proceeding in front of WIPO or UDRP proceeding in front of NAF.
My name is domain name dispute resolution attorney Enrico Schaefer. We'll see you next time
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