Cybersquatter Protection 301 – The Uniform Rapid Suspension System

Speed LimitThis is the third entry in a series on how trademark owners can protect themselves from cybersquatters. The first post talked about the trademark clearing house, and the second post discussed the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy (“UDRP”). Today’s post will discuss the Uniform Rapid Suspension System, a/k/a URS. Contrary to what you might think, URS has nothing to do with cars, shock absorbers, or anti-lock brake systems. URS is a new, fast complaint system, set up by ICANN, that is modeled on UDRP. It is designed to be less expensive than a UDRP arbitration proceeding, and it applies to all global top-level domains (gTLD’s).

While it make take months to get a decision in a UDRP proceeding, URS is designed to provide a decision within days. The trademark owner has a relatively high burden of proof in URS proceedings. He must show by clear and convincing evidence that:

  1. The registered domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a validly registered trademark that is currently in use;
  2. The domain name registrant has no legitimate right or interest to the domain name; and
  3. The domain was registered and is being used in bad faith.

Because of these requirements, URS is best-suited to owners of well-known trademarks, and to cases where the alleged cybersquatter does not have an good claim to having a legitimate interest. If there are any key facts in dispute, the URS provider will dismiss the claim. Also, if the trademark is not registered, URS is not a good recourse.

If the URS provider finds in favor of the complaining trademark owner, the only remedy is suspension of the domain name until the registration expires. They cannot require that the domain name be cancelled or transferred to the trademark owner.

Finally, if you lose in an URS proceeding, you can appeal the decision. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for the final installment in this series, covering the Donuts Domain Protected Marks List.

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