Two cases show why we need UDRP reform.
National Arbitration Forum has handed down two recent domain name decisions that show what’s wrong with UDRP.
This isn’t an attack on National Arbitration Forum, as its panelists got both of these cases right. In both cases they found that the registrant had rights or legitimate interests in the domain names and that they weren’t registered in bad faith.
What’s wrong about these cases is that the respondents even had to take the time (or money) to respond. Both cases were frivolous because the domain names were registered prior to the complainants getting any sort of trademark rights in the term.
Take a look at the decision for RapidInsight.com. In this case the respondent registered the domain name in 2000 and even formed an LLC by the name Rapid Insight, LLC. Then the complainant formed a company later and settled on the domain name RapidInsightInc.com.
Of course the domain without Inc.com is better. So, ten years hence, the complainant filed his case.
The other case is for eCotton.net. The respondent registered this domain name back in 1999 and even created a web site at the address. In 2008 the complainant filed a design mark for eCotton, and followed that up with what is now a pending registration for the word mark eCotton in 2010. He claimed first use in commerce in 2000 (which is an awfully long time to wait to file for a trademark). But even if the complainant first used the eCotton mark in commerce in 2000, it was still after the domain name was registered by the respondent. That means it was impossible that it was registered in bad faith.
UDRP needs reforming. There need to be some changes to protect both complainants and respondents. One of my suggestions is to have an automatic check that throws out any case where a complainant does not claim it had rights in the mark prior to the respondent registering the domain name. This disproves bad faith registration and merely harasses the respondent who must take the time (and perhaps money) to respond.