Legal & regulatory frameworks

WIPO: Resolving disputes in an online environment: the UDRP and e-commerce

About

Running an e-commerce business or hosting your own website presents many opportunities to reach out to customers around the globe. Nowadays however, this also requires monitoring for potential abuses of your brand by bad-actor third parties who seek to confuse Internet users (often by selling fakes or stealing customer information). 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 email-based complaints process called the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (also called the UDRP).

WIPO’s UDRP program, run on a not-for-profit basis, established a global legal framework for the administration of these trademark-based disputes relating to the Internet and e-commerce.

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 some 75 country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) dispute resolution policies and as a blueprint for e-commerce and social media platforms;
  • As training provider and capacity building instrument for UDRP Panelists and Parties, offering Advanced Workshops on e-commerce related issues such as “cybersquatting” and online trademarks protection, as well as the WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions, Third Edition (“WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0”)

As of mid-2019, WIPO has managed over 44,000 such cases involving parties from 179 countries, and spanning some 20 languages.

To learn more about the UDRP and WIPO’s services, please contact WIPO’s domain name experts at arbiter.mail@wipo.int.

For whom

Decision makers
Private sector
Policy makers
Legal professionals
Researchers
Experts
Domain name registries
Domain name registrars
ccTLD registries
domain name registrants

Services offered

Capacity Building

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 some 75 county code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) dispute resolution policies – See www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/cctld
Policy Advice

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 e-commerce
  • Protecting brands online helps mitigate consumer confusion, reduces the cases of counterfeits and fraud, and drives global e-commerce
  • As a global dispute resolution mechanism, the UDRP resolves domain name disputes without a need for expensive court litigation
  • As of mid-2019, WIPO has managed over 44,000 cases with parties from over 175 countries, and in some 20 languages
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.

Policy dialogue
  • 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 discussion in ICANN’s New gTLD Program

Partners

Partners involved
  • International organizations
  • ccTLDs
  • Professional associations
International organizations
  • ICANN
  • OECD
  • UPU
  • WHO
  • World Bank
  • UN
Professional associations
  • INTA
  • MARQUES
  • ECTA
  • AIM

Meet the beneficiaries

Achievements
The UDRP: assisting brand owners in the fight against online abuse

“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 panelists 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 (www.marques.org)