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2013 Top Stories: A record number of RDNH filings

More complainants than ever were found guilty of trying to steal domain names using UDRP.

2013 saw a record number of UDRP complainants found guilty of “Reverse Domain Name Hijacking,” which is essentially using the UDRP in bad faith to attempt to obtain a domain name.

As of the middle of last month, 24 complainants had been found guilty of abusing the UDRP.

Nat Cohen has a lengthy article explaining why the number may have spiked in 2013.

One hypothesis is that, since some arbitration panelists have started to twist the language of UDRP, complainants are “rolling the dice” and hoping to get lucky with one of these panelists.

It has long been held that a complainant has to prove that a domain was registered in bad faith. But some panelists have shifted this to also include “renewed” in bad faith.

That would mean that if a company started in 2014, it might be able to make a claim on a domain you registered in 1994!

UDRP was designed to tackle clear-cut cases of cybersquatting. Obviously, unless you’re psychic, that domain you registered 20 years ago wasn’t registered to cybersquat on a company that didn’t exist yet.

Although it’s unfortunate that so many complainants are trying to take advantage of UDRP, it’s also good news that some panelists are willing to call them out on it.

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