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eBay Victorious In Major UDRP Challenge

January 13, 2015 

eBay has won a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy case involving more than 1,150 domain names.

According to WHOIS details, the domains were registered by two parties in China at one Chinese registrar. All the .COM and .NET names contained the word "ebay" followed by a three-digit number.

The WIPO proceedings state all names were registered on either August 4, 2014 or August 5, 2014 and are connected to various Chinese language commercial websites. Investigations arrived at the conclusion that the two registrants are either the same person or colluded with each other.

"The Panel is satisfied that the registration of over 1,000 domain names confusingly similar to the Complainant's well-known trade mark and the connection of them to what appear to be commercial websites (some of them seem to be websites associated with gambling) without any obvious justification for having done so and without the authority of the Complainant is likely to have been undertaken with abusive intent," says Tony Willoughby, who was the sole panelist in the case.

All 1,153 domains will now be transferred to the control of eBay. The full list of names and Administrative Panel Decision can be viewed here.

While this appears to be a blatant case of bad faith registration, at times registrants may register a name without realising that it infringes on a company's trademarks. That's why it's important to carry out a trademark search before registering domains. Using a private registration service offers no protection from UDRP related action as the registrar will be required to reveal the identity of the registrant.

The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) has been invoked in tens of thousands of disputes over the last 13 years.  In Australia, domain disputes are usually handled under Australian equivalent of the UDRP, the .au Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP). The UDRP and auDRP are designed to be more rapid and cheaper alternative to litigation. Cheaper and faster again is the more recently introduced Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), but it can only be used in specific circumstances.

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