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How to win a domain name dispute in an alternative dispute resolution proceeding

Domain names are essential for establishing a solid online branding strategy. Alternative dispute resolution procedures are a useful tool in tackling domain name infringements. There are a few tips to bear in mind to succeed in such proceedings and regain ownership of a domain name.


1)      Do your research

Collect as much information as possible about the disputed domain name. Look up the WhoIs record, perform a Google search regarding the registrant’s identity, identify the top-level domain, check how the domain name is used (does the domain name point to a website or redirect to another, are MX records enabled to send emails?), search the Internet archives for further evidence of bad faith use, etc. Remember to save evidence as soon as you start your investigation, such as screenshots of the webpage. If Internet users claim that they have received fraudulent emails sent from the disputed domain name, ask the client to forward such emails to you.

2)      Identify the applicable alternative dispute resolution policy

Examine if a potential alternative dispute resolution policy applies to the disputed domain name.
The applicable policy is determined by the top-level domain. The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) applies to all generic top-level domains, for instance. If the domain name has been registered with a country-code top-level domain, a different policy may apply. Note that the relevant dispute resolution provider will also be determined by the relevant policy.

3)      Check if a transfer can be claimed on the basis of the policy

Note which elements need to be proven to obtain the transfer of the domain name and check that they are fulfilled. Is it important to carry out a careful assessment. Under the UDRP, the three conditions that need to be proven for obtaining the transfer of the disputed domain name are cumulative. If you are for instance unable to prove that the registrant does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the domain name you will not receive a positive decision from the provider, even if you successfully demonstrate that the domain name has been registered and is used in bad faith. When it comes to country-codes top-level domains, the applicable policies can vary greatly from a top-level domain to another. Some policies require a national trademark registration, others are only applicable to domain names that have been registered for less than three years. Some even have a standing requirement in accordance with which the complainant must show that they fulfil the eligibility criteria for registering a domain name under the relevant top-level domain to be able to file a domain name complaint.

Domain name disputes may appear simple proceedings, as they are simplified expedited arbitration procedures, but they can be lost over simple mistakes that could easily have been avoided with the help of a qualified IP attorney. At Fondia, we are able to help you with all types of domain name cases, from elaborating domain recovery strategies to handling of domain name disputes. We have extended expertise of UDRP proceedings and many different ccTLD proceedings. We also offer a range of domain name services, such as domain name watch services, and registration/hosting services through our partner.

Contact our domain name expert Mathilde at if you need a recommendation regarding a domain name infringement, if you want to assess your chances to get a specific domain name transferred to you, or if you need any other services regarding domain names, including setting up a worldwide domain name watch.

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