Twitter Files Its First UDRP Complaint Against TwitterSearch.com

On October 24, 1999, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).  The UDRP incorporated by contract into registration agreements for .com, .org, .net and some other domain names.  The focus was on regulating bad faith cybersquatting on trademarks. Clause 4 of the UDRP discusses the Mandatory Administrative Proceeding.  It includes the applicable disputes, bad faith factors, legitimate use defense, and remedies (cancellation or transfer order).   Arbitration does not oust the jurisdiction of competent courts.

The benefits of using the UDRP over The Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) of 1999 is that the UDRP is a quick, cost effective means to have a domain name transferred back to the trademark owner.  Many of these proceedings have found in favor of trademark owners.

Twitter recently filed its first-ever UDRP complaint. The complaint is against TwitterSearch.com, which is not yet an operational website.  Twitter owns the trademark “Twitter,” and the domain name TwitterSearch.com is confusingly similar to that trademark.  While the domain name has been registered (since 2007), though, it is not being used in bad faith unless it was registered for a profit motive, to prevent Twitter from using it, to disrupt Twitter’s business, or to divert traffic from Twitter’s website.

Apparently the domain has been up for sale for quite some time.  That could lead to the bad faith profit motive claim.  It is unlikely that there is a legitimate use defense, either, since the registrant has not even used the domain since purchasing it three years ago.  My guess is that Twitter will have the domain name transfered over for its own use.

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