The UDRP and E-Commerce
Resolving trademark disputes on the Internet
Program in a Nutshell
- Capacity Building and Development
- Policy Advice, Support and Formulation
- Policy Dialogue
- Building Skills and Training
Yes! I want to learn more about how this program could help my business, organization, country or region.
Getting your business online presents many opportunities to reach out to new customers around the globe. More than ever this also requires monitoring for potential abuses of your brand and products by bad-actor third parties who seek to confuse Internet users (often to sell fakes or steal customer information) by unfairly using a confusingly similar domain name. Your online brand is your reputation, and these threats must be taken seriously.
Thanks to a program created in 1999 and managed by WIPO – the World Intellectual Property Organization – it is possible to resolve such issues through an online process called the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the UDRP).
WIPO’s world-leading UDRP program, run on a not-for-profit basis, established an international legal framework for the administration of trademark-based disputes relating to all “generic” Internet domains (such as “.com” and “.net”) and e-commerce sites.
More specifically, the UDRP acts at three levels:
- As a global domain name dispute resolution mechanism, it is a successful substitute to expensive court litigation;
- As a globally-recognized best practice legal framework also serving as the basis for over 75 country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) dispute resolution policies and as a blueprint for e-commerce and social media platforms;
- As training provider for UDRP Panelists and Parties and as a capacity building instrument for national ccTLD registries offering an Advanced Workshop on issues such as the evidentiary burden to demonstrate “cybersquatting” and related online trademark protection, as well in-depth discussion on the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0”).
As of mid-2021, WIPO has managed some 53,000 such cases involving parties from some 180 countries, and spanning some 20 languages.
Capacity Building and Development
Since the launch of the WIPO ccTLD Program in 2000, WIPO has provided advice to many ccTLDs with a view to establishing registration conditions and dispute resolution procedures that conform with international standards of intellectual property protection while taking into account the particular circumstances and needs of the individual ccTLD.
- Globally-recognized best practice
- Part of WIPO’s capacity-building
- The UDRP forms the basis for over 75 county code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) dispute resolution policies – See www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/cctld
Policy Advice, Support and Formulation
The UDRP contributes to an inclusive and seamless e-commerce environment by providing a global dispute resolution mechanism and by protecting online brands and building consumer trust. The UDRP also makes the dispute resolution accessible for smaller businesses, without a need for expensive court litigation.
- Online dispute resolution such as the UDRP facilitates trust in e-commerce
- Protecting brands online helps mitigate consumer confusion and reduces the cases of counterfeits and fraud
- As a global dispute resolution mechanism, the UDRP resolves domain name disputes without a need for expensive court litigation especially in foreign courts
- As of mid-2021, WIPO has managed some 53,000 cases with parties from some 180 countries, and in some 20 languages
- At the request of the United States Government with WIPO Member States’ approval, to address bad actors engaged in “cybersquatting” in 1999 WIPO designed the UDRP
- The UDRP also provides a dispute resolution blueprint e.g., for e-commerce or social media platforms
- In 2009 WIPO championed a paperless “eUDRP”
- WIPO has been instrumental in trademark rights protection discussions e.g., in ICANN’s New gTLD Program
Building Skills and Training
- Operating on a not-for-profit basis, WIPO is the global leader in UDRP services and is the UDRP’s recognized steward bringing certainty to the parties involved in the UDRP proceedings
- WIPO invests in training for UDRP Panelists and Parties
One of the recent examples of trainings: WIPO Advanced Workshop on Domain Name Dispute Resolution
Since 1999, WIPO has been providing advanced workshops on Intellectual Property related topics, with a growing focus on the online business environment and creative industries. One of the recent examples is the WIPO Advanced Workshop on Domain Name Dispute Resolution: Update on Precedent and Practice which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, October 9 and 10, 2018.
- WIPO provides related resources, including a globally-used Jurisprudential Overview summarizing consensus legal views in UDRP cases.
- “The UDRP is the only affordable and effective remedy open to brand owners for tackling cross-jurisdictional abusive domain registration. Across over 40,000 cases featuring more than 74,000 domain names, WIPO has demonstrated consistency, fairness and transparency. WIPO offers unique jurisprudential resources, its panellists are well-trained, and its decisions are reasonable and well-argued. Without the leadership of WIPO our brand-owning members would be much poorer and the consumers who rely on them would be exposed to the many perils that frequently accompany cybersquatting.”Executive Committee of MARQUES, the European Association of Trademark Owners
- World Bank
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)