Internet domain names, such as those ending with .com, .net, .org, represent enormous value. As a result, their attribution and use have given rise to numerous disputes over abuse of registration of domain names, commonly known as cyber squatting. In 1999, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which coordinates the assignment of Internet domain names, established the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy. This has become the accepted international standard for resolving domain names disputes.
Under this policy, the holder of a trademark can submit a cyber squatting case to an approved dispute resolution service provider on ICANN’s list. The complainant must demonstrate that the disputed domain name is identical or confusingly similar to its trademark, that the respondent does not have a right or legitimate interest in the domain name and that the respondent registered and uses the domain name in bad faith.
ICANN will cancel, transfer or otherwise make changes to domain name registrations after receipt of a decision of Administrative Panel acting under its policy. The procedure is usually conducted in writing.
The procedure is designed not to last more than 55 days. Fees may range from US$ 1,500 for a dispute concerning one domain name before a single panelist, up to US$ 7,000 for a dispute concerning 10 or more domain names before three panelists.