New Domain Name Dispute Policy a Boon to Trademark Owners

By Mark A. Wright

Those who use Internet domain names in bad faith beware. On January 1, 2000, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (“ICANN”) Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (the “Policy”) took effect. Under the new policy, if you hold and use a domain name that is identical or confusingly similar to an existing trademark, and do so in bad faith, you may lose all rights in the domain name.

The purpose of the Policy is to provide an administrative process to resolve disputes between legitimate trademark owners and those who adopt domain names that are identical or confusingly similar to another’s trademark. The Policy applies to all registered domain names, and establishes a mandatory administrative process for resolution of such complaints. Unlike the prior policy, both owners of common law and registered trademarks can now block the use of infringing domain names.

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