We have expressed the importance of knowing your UDRP panelists in any Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). A recent UDRP arbitration decision has received attention after an arbitrator chose not to exercise his discretion and, therefore, did not consider a response filed within one hour of the response deadline. Not only has the merit of the decision itself been called into question, but the action of the arbitrator himself has been discussed as well in an article entitled: UDRP Arbitration: A Case of Laziness?.
Without addressing the merits of the UDRP Complaint, both Complainants and Respondents should learn that a UDRP arbitrator, like any judge, can mean the difference between winning and losing. For example, according to the above cited article, this particular UDRP arbitrator has found in favor of the complainant in his last “50 plus cases.”
Practically speaking, this case again confirms that it is extremely important to understand as much as possible about your arbitrator. While you cannot control who is selected if you choose a one-person panel, choosing a three-person panel will enable you to select at least one of the panelists. Thus, you can research the panelists by accessing a list of panelists at both WIPO and NAF. In addition, you can use such tools as DomainFight.net to search the full text of both WIPO and NAF decisions for a particular panelist, see how he or she decides cases with similar facts, and identify any decision trends. While a three-person panel is more expensive than a single-member panel, there may be times when the additional investment is necessary to increase the likelihood of securing a domain name.
Ultimately, should you determine, with qualifying supporting reasons, that a particular arbitrator would be detrimental to your UDRP case, you can request disqualification of the panelist (e.g. NAF Supplemental Rules, Rule 10). Regardless, domain dispute attorneys and Internet law firms can help you with these matters. Contact us today if you would like us to assist you in filing a UDRP Complaint or responding to a UDRP Complaint.