As many industries’ marketplaces move online, more and more businesses are realizing that domain names utilizing their company’s name and information are already taken. While this occurs with mixed intentions, it can come at a great cost for a business looking to house their website under the domain name that best fits their established name that is unavailable.
Virtually, a domain name acts in the same way as a storefront, so it is incredibly important for a business to have their first-choice domain. However, if the company owns the trademark that is incorporated into a domain name owned by another party, the trademark owner has the rights within their trademark to take the domain back. To do so, the rightful owner must file a domain dispute, which is essentially a formal complaint that is intended to cancel, suspend, or transfer the domain to its rightful owner.
When the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, also known as ICANN, was founded, the original intention behind its organization was to provide a resolution for “the trademark dilemma,” or the use of trademarks as domain names without the owner’s consent. Since the 1990s, ICANN has worked alongside the United Nations’ World Intellectual Property Organization to provide a platform in which domain disputes can be handled fairly. Today, the vast majority of domain disputes are filed through WIPO’s Uniform Domain Resolution Policy.