The Complaint Procedure and

By Larry Seltzer  |  Posted 2005-05-05 Print this article Print

Outcome"> As is common in cases like Lybrands where the domain registrant is a cheap opportunist, he did not respond to the complaint filed with the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) Arbitration and Mediation Center. The one-person panel found the name confusingly similar to Microsofts, cited a bunch of precedents and awarded the domain to Microsoft. The entire process was fast, as legal proceedings go:
Domain registered 12/19/2004
Domain advertised on eBay 12/22/2004
Registrant contacted by Microsoft 12/22/2004 (same-day service!)
Complaint filed with WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center 1/6/2005
Registrar contacted by WIPO 1/7/2005
Respondent notified of complaint 1/26/2005
No response from respondent, past due 2/15/2005
Panelist assigned to case 3/7/2005
Report filed 3/18/2005
Domain transferred 4/19/2005
I call that fast. And the fees paid to lawyers and the arbitration center are very reasonable, as legal fees go. Obviously legal fees vary from lawyer to lawyer, but Schwimmer thinks a case where someone is pursued through URDP can be defended for about $2,500. Of course, if youve got a loser case like Lybrand did, you should save your money. There have been many interesting cases along these lines involving sites like and (a Wal-Mart critic). If Faceless International Conglomerate Inc. accuses you of stealing its trademark through your domain and challenges you through this process, do you have a chance? Schwimmer says that in cases where the respondent opts for the three-member panel and responds to the complaint, the respondent wins half the time. This doesnt say how many of the cases would seem meritorious to you or me, but it would seem that these are the cases that get the most scrutiny. They likely cost more and take longer, too. Schwimmer says that problems come when there is a real, disputed factual record or some relationship between parties (such as in the breakup of a business or if the case is between licensees and distributors, as in the famous Raiderettes case). But any of these processes is likely to be much faster and less risky than civil litigation, which can take years and cost more than the case is worth. A civil suit does hold the possibility of a temporary restraining order or, if there is egregious abuse, recovery of costs, but its a high-stakes game. The problem with the UDRP is not what it does, but what it doesnt do. Its not designed for other problems which have come to the forefront since the UDRP was conceived. ICANN has handled domain hijacking badly, but its good to see that they do get right the things they set out to do. Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer has worked in and written about the computer industry since 1983. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.

Larry Seltzer has been writing software for and English about computers ever since—,much to his own amazement—,he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.

He was one of the authors of NPL and NPL-R, fourth-generation languages for microcomputers by the now-defunct DeskTop Software Corporation. (Larry is sad to find absolutely no hits on any of these +products on Google.) His work at Desktop Software included programming the UCSD p-System, a virtual machine-based operating system with portable binaries that pre-dated Java by more than 10 years.

For several years, he wrote corporate software for Mathematica Policy Research (they're still in business!) and Chase Econometrics (not so lucky) before being forcibly thrown into the consulting market. He bummed around the Philadelphia consulting and contract-programming scenes for a year or two before taking a job at NSTL (National Software Testing Labs) developing product tests and managing contract testing for the computer industry, governments and publication.

In 1991 Larry moved to Massachusetts to become Technical Director of PC Week Labs (now eWeek Labs). He moved within Ziff Davis to New York in 1994 to run testing at Windows Sources. In 1995, he became Technical Director for Internet product testing at PC Magazine and stayed there till 1998.

Since then, he has been writing for numerous other publications, including Fortune Small Business, Windows 2000 Magazine (now Windows and .NET Magazine), ZDNet and Sam Whitmore's Media Survey.

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