Confronted by an ever-expanding Internet and contending with less-than-expansive enforcement budgets, in-house counsel and domain name administrators are forced to make increasingly complex decisions about individual domain name infringements and their domain name portfolios as a whole.
Fortunately, domain name enforcement – which involves staying well-informed about complex, niche issues like the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy (UDRP) and Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) – doesn’t have to take all of your time.
You just have to know what to focus on and where to find the best information.
Here are a few quick updates including links to sites and resources that will help you stay informed about the three keys to successful domain name enforcement in 2015.
Three Keys to Successful Domain Name Enforcement
1. Understand the Impact of Internet Expansion
To date, more than 6.7 million domain names have been registered in new gTLDs. So far, .SUCKS has received the most attention from the government, corporations, and mainstream press, since many brands and trademarks have been placed on the “premium” domain list.
The price for a premium domain name registration is more than $2,000 per year. According to Vox Populi, the registry that manages .SUCKS, “Consumer Advocate Subsidies” will be offered some time this fall. These subsidies will allow consumers to register domain names in .SUCKS for a significantly reduced price. Visit the .SUCKS registry site to find out which companies and individuals are on the premium list.
You can follow the growth of all new gTLD registrations by visiting https://ntldstats.com/.
You can also sign up to receive an email each time a new gTLD enters its sunrise period here.
2. Stay Up-to-Date with the UDRP & URS
- New Anti-Cyberflight Rule Revision:
Thanks to a rule revision that went into effect on of July 31st, brand owners are now able to send a complaint to the dispute provider first, and the dispute provider will then send a request to the registrar to lock the disputed domain.
The registrar will have two business days to lock the domain. Only after the registrar has locked the domain will the respondent be formally served with the complaint by the dispute provider, preventing cybersquatters from trying to quickly slip the domain to someone else to disrupt the enforcement process.
Read this post by Steve Levy for more information.
- gTLD Meaning Can Affect Domain Name Decisions:
Recent decisions suggest that new gTLD meaning will be taken into account by panelists when considering a complaint. These cases demonstrate the variety of ways that Panelists do – or don’t – take the meaning of new gTLDs like .SALE and .CLUB into account when deciding the fate of a complaint.
More analysis of recent WIPO and NAF domain name decisions can be found here.
3. Outsmart the Cybersquatters by Reducing Costs
Cybersquatters are counting on in-house counsel, domain name administrators, and brands in general to be too overwhelmed by Internet expansion to protect their marks effectively online.
But there are powerful steps that you can take to make the most of your time and money – steps that squatters can’t do anything about.
Here are three actionable steps you can take now:
1. Choose a UDRP service provider willing to cover the cost of filing as well as their own costs if he or she does not obtain a favorable outcome. That way, you don’t waste money on losses.
2. Choose an algorithm-driven monitoring service that only reports legitimate, confirmed infringements. Avoid services that provide a ‘data dump’ of potential infringements that you have to spend time researching (if you get to it at all).
3. Clean-up your current portfolio. You may be holding onto, and paying for, domain names that simply don’t represent a threat to your brand. Sometimes, this is because they are in a low-risk top-level domain or because they are associated with a subsidiary that was sold-off years ago.
Whatever the reason, using traffic tools and other information about domain names can help you to save money – money that can go towards defensive registrations in top-level domains that are relevant to your brand.
If this sounds time-consuming and complex, well, it can be. But don’t worry, because you can get help cleaning up your portfolio here.
For more information on preventative measures that take the least amount of your time and make the most of budget, contact the UDRP Team via email.
Stay Connected for Information on What To Expect in 2016
To help busy professionals stay on top of their domain name portfolios and ahead of cybersquatters, Levy and domain name consultant Sam Foster offer quarterly webinars.
The webinars offer much more information and exclusive analysis than I can cover in one blog, so consider signing-up to be invited to our next webinar for brand owners in September.
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