The Arbitration and Mediation Center of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has created and made available online a new information tool that offers a concise overview of trends in decisions taken under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) – a quick and cost effective dispute resolution procedure relating to Internet addresses. The WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions considers common and important substantive and procedural questions that have been extracted from the over 7,000 UDRP cases handled so far by WIPO. The Overview is available at http://arbiter.wipo.int/domains/search/overview/index.html.
"By offering a concise overview of UDRP decision trends, this new tool will further enhance the consistency and reasoning of decisions taken under the UDRP and will help parties to better assess their chances under the UDRP," said Mr. Francis Gurry, WIPO Deputy Director General who oversees the work of the Center. Mr. Gurry said he expected a wide variety of professionals, as well as Internet users to benefit from this analysis. "Of course, legal practitioners will find this tool very useful. But I also expect academics, policy-makers, as well as existing and potential owners of domain names to benefit from the analysis of thousands of cases we have handled to date," he added.
The UDRP, which was proposed by WIPO and has become accepted as an international standard for resolving domain name disputes, is designed specifically to discourage and resolve the abusive registration of trademarks as domain names. Under the UDRP, a complainant must demonstrate that the disputed domain is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark, that the respondent does not have a right or legitimate interest in the domain name and that the respondent registered and used the domain name in bad faith. Disputes are decided by independent panelists drawn from the Center’s list of 400 trademark specialists from over 50 countries.
The rules governing the UDRP – whose popularity stems from its cost-effectiveness, the predictability of the process and swift enforcement of the results – are clear and concise. As a result, as the WIPO Overview shows, consensus or clear majority views have developed on most issues. However, with UDRP decisions covering a multitude of facts and arguments, it is hard to avoid genuine differences of opinion on some of the issues, all the more so in view of the fact that panelists and parties come from a multitude of jurisdictions. By providing this analysis of UDRP decisions, the new WIPO Overview will enhance the predictability of the UDRP mechanism.
The introduction to this new tool on WIPO’s website recalls that decision-making authority under the UDRP lies exclusively with the appointed panels. The Overview assists awareness of their views on key procedural and substantial issues. Decision references supporting each line of opinion are included, with over 100 decisions from over 80 different UDRP panelists listed.
While some of the listed issues arise only infrequently, all of them are, or are perceived to be, relevant to the operation of the UDRP. The Center’s identification of questions and evaluation of opinions is based on the 7,000 UDRP cases it has administered through February 2005. More detailed information on all views is available from the Center’s frequently used online Legal Index of WIPO Panel Decisions (http://arbiter.wipo.int/cgi-bin/domains/search/legalindex), as well as from the decisions themselves which are also available on-line.