Intellectual Property, Internet Domain names, Arbitration, Reverse-Domain-Name-Hijacking. Legal fees and damages.

Asked over 5 years ago - Ursa, IL

After the Complainant is found guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking is there any thing the Respondent can do to collect on financial damages resulting from defending their domain name?

Note. The Complainant submitted to the Respondent in writing that if they refused transfer of the domain name they would incur expensive legal fees to defend an arbitration case. Does this show intent to cause legal fees, does this change anything?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Arieh Mordechai Flemenbaum

    Contributor Level 12

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . I agree with my colleagues. You seem to assume that the complainant will be found guilty. You should be aware that it can be a struggle to get a panel of UDRP arbitrators to find a complainant guilty of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking - even when the complainant's behavior has been egregious. So, you may be better off pursuing a civil action in federal or state court pursuing other business claims. Our offices are in Chicago, but please feel free to contact me to discuss this matter further.

    This answer is informational only and is not intended to provide legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice tailored to your particular facts and circumstances, please contact a local business lawyer with experience in internet law and intellectual property matters. Good luck to you.

  2. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . The URDP doesn't find anyone guilty, as this isn't a criminal proceeding, it's a civil one. The UDRP has no mechanism for cost-shifting, and usually the complainant pays the UDRP fees.

    This is from their website:

    "The Complainant shall pay to the Provider an initial fixed fee, in accordance with the Provider's Supplemental Rules, within the time and in the amount required. A Respondent electing under Paragraph 5(b)(iv) to have the dispute decided by a three-member Panel, rather than the single-member Panel elected by the Complainant, shall pay the Provider one-half the fixed fee for a three-member Panel. See Paragraph 5(c). In all other cases, the Complainant shall bear all of the Provider's fees, except as prescribed under Paragraph 19(d). Upon appointment of the Panel, the Provider shall refund the appropriate portion, if any, of the initial fee to the Complainant, as specified in the Provider's Supplemental Rules."

    So what this means is that usually, the complainant is responsible for paying the total fees. The only time the respondent has to share the fees is when the respondent chooses to have the case decided by three panelists and the complainant has chosen a single panelist. The parties bear their own legal fees if they have representation.

    The language advising a recipient that they'll incur legal fees in a legal battle isn't evidence of intent, it's just common sense. And anyway, you've posted so many questions on Avvo it doesn't seem likely that you ever plan to incur any legal fees anyway.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  3. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Za-zing. As Ms. Koslyn notes, financial recovery is not a remedy for either side in a UDRP proceeding.

    Nothing, however, (other than money) prevents the victim of reverse domain name hijacking -- which is, after all, simply cybersquatting -- from filing a action in federal court against the domain name registrant under the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. The victim may also have other business tort claims as well. Speak with an intellectual property attorney. Really.

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