Imagine this dilemma - your competitor Rob the builder has taken bobthefriendlybuilder.com.au, a domain name you want to register for your business.
You believe that you have better rights to it than Rob because one, your registered business name is “Bob the Friendly Builder”. You also know Rob has no legitimate interests in the domain name because he’s trying to tarnish your name as a friendly builder, and you suspect he intends to attract visitors to his business by trading off your name and reputation. When you asked Rob why he registered the same domain name as your business name, he said he would be happy to sell it to you for $1 million.
You think to yourself – the domain name should be mine, not Rob’s! It’s not fair! The domain name should be transferred to me, and this must be done as quickly as possible.
You tried making a complaint to auDA but it was found that Rob’s not in breach of any policies (as Bob is short for Robert, and he is in fact a builder). You were also told that even if he was in breach, auDA’s only remedy would be to delete the domain name, not to transfer it to you.
So what now? Is going to court the only option you have?
Perhaps you have heard about the unique method of resolving these types of issues. A method that does not involve the courts, and has all the features those proceedings in the law courts do not have – i.e. it is cheaper, quicker, more effective, everything is done electronically and best of all, the domain name will be transferred immediately to you if you are successful.
The method I am referring to is lodging a claim under the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP).
As the Complainant in an auDRP claim, you need to demonstrate before a panel that:
- The domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a name, trademark or service mark in which you have rights; and
- The Respondent, the current holder of the domain, has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and
- The domain name has been registered or subsequently used by the Respondent in bad faith.
There is a fee of $2,000 if you wish to have your case heard before a single member panel or $4,500 if you want a three member panel.
Anyone who is familiar with taking legal recourse can tell you it will be more costly and takes a considerably longer time if the issue is to be decided in court. Please feel free to contact an auDRP provider for more details about the process.
On a final note, a question that potential complainant often asks us – how can I ensure a better chance of success with my claim?
Well, as all auDRP decisions are published on the auDA website, you may find it useful to take a look at the Archive of previous cases handled through auDRP process. There is also the auDRP Search Database, which is a good starting point if you want to find proceedings that relates to a particular key issue.
Some examples of key issues include:
- generic, descriptive domain name
- multiple Complainants or Respondents
- inactive use of domain name
So next time you have a similar dilemma to Bob the friendly builder, consider the auDRP!