Some Downsides of UDRP Complaints

UDRP complaints can be filed for generic top-level domains (such as .com).  They are cost-effective and faster than traditional judicial proceedings for trademark infringement or unfair competition especially, since formal hearings aren’t required.

However, the only remedy available in a UDRP proceeding is cancellation or transfer of the domain name in dispute.  It may not be the best route to take when there are broad IP issues at stake or significant financial losses.

Additionally, precedent is not binding on the UDRP panel so the potential outcome is less certain since inconsistent opinions exist on many issues.  In contrast, most courts are bound to precedent to outcomes on issues that have been considered before, thus courts can be more predictable.  Additionally, civil procedure rules generally rule that settlement discussions are protected for being used as evidence at trial.  However, in the non-judicial UDRP proceeding, settlement discussions can be used to infer bad faith.  In other words, a business decision to offer a settlement to prevent excessive legal fees could be interpreted as an admission of liability.

The complainant has only 5,000 words to make its case and only one bite at the apple.  Even if the respondent doesn’t respond, there is no guaranty of a win.

UDRP is an excellent procedure – under the right circumstances.  No two cases are the same.