Litigation & Arbitration

Owners of popular brands in China and Taiwan often fall pray to “cyber squatters” who register domain names related to their known products and services, and expect to be paid for transferring or renting domain registrations. Sometimes cybersquatters even register confusingly similar domain names just to divert or disrupt the business of a competitor.

Even though the servers hosting the infringing web sites could be located anywhere in the world, web domain registration is exclusively handled by a single private not-for-profit organization called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”).  ICANN provides mechanisms for challenging and resolving domain name disputes by a process that has come be known as “virtual arbitration.”

The Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy (UDRP) adopted by ICANN allows complaints to be sent to one of four UDRP arbitration centers for resolution. In Asia, complaints can be sent to the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (“ADNDRC”) in Hong Kong, Beijing and Seoul. Usually, no in-person hearings are required; all communications can be carried out by e-mail.  The arbitration center will render a binding decision within 45 days, and the offending domain name will be either cancelled or transferred to the complaining party within 10 days, unless the respondent files a lawsuit challenging the decision.

In addition to filing a complaint with ICANN, the complainant may also file a trademark infringement suit against the registrant of the infringing domain name anywhere the trademark is registered. If the registrant is located in the United States, the trademark owner may also bring an Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act suit to seek monetary damages.

For more information about resolving domain name disputes, please contact us.

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