DNS Public Registration Disputes (Conflicts, Cybersquatting, "Deceptive Naming", Etc.) and Dispute Resolution
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The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy
Lawsuits are expensive and time consuming, so there was a desire that some other mechanism exist for resolving these conflicts as well. Since the authority for each TLD controls what happens within it, it also has the right to create its own policies for how to deal with these sorts of issues. For the generic TLDs, the original registering authority, the InterNIC, had a dispute resolution policy that allowed someone with a complaint to challenge a domain name registration if they had a trademark interest in that name. The policy was controversial for a number of reasons, not the least of which because it led to some domain names being successfully challenged even if there was no proof of trademark infringement.
The current authority for the generic TLDs, IANA/ICANN, created a new Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) in 1999, to better handle domain name conflicts. This policy specifies a procedure whereby a company that has a valid trademark can challenge a domain name if it either infringes on the trademark, is confusingly similar to it, or if the name was registered by someone else in bad faith. At the same time, it also lists ways that the original registrant can prove that the registration is valid and should be maintained. This new system eliminates many of the real problems described above, such as deceptive naming, corporate warfare and cybersquatting, while not automatically allowing a second-comer to shut down a legitimate domain.
Incidentally, it was all this nonsense that led, in part, to the clamor for new generic top level domains. In the interest of fairness, I also want to mention that even though more complicated TLDs like the old strictly hierarchical .US are not very popular, they have a huge advantage over the generic domains. Since all registrations there are geographic, there are far fewer conflicts, because a dispute requires that two organizations have the same name and also be in the same state and town.
For example, you could still have three Joe's Pizza Parlors in Chicago duke it out, but it's not likely that you'd see big companies on the mat in .US. For example, the ACME Furniture Company might use acme.seattle.wa.us, the ACME Restaurant Supply Corporation acme.mendocino.ca.us and ACME Footwear, Inc. could go with acme.anchorage.ak.us.
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