Which Policy Do I Need?

With so many different domain name-related policies, how do you know which one to use?  The chart below highlights some of the more common questions and outlines some considerations for choosing the right policy.  The links take you to more information on the policy in question. 

Problem Policy(ies) w/ hyperlink What you need to know
Someone is infringing my trademark or company name in a domain name.

The UDRP applies to all generic top level domains (gTLDs), from .com to the newest top level domains. It applies to many country code top level domains (ccTLDs) as well—sometimes even to third level domains in those ccTLDs. It also applies to third level domains registered in .co.com. You must have a trademark to use this policy.

The UDRP applies to all generic top level domains. The usDRP is the equivalent policy for the .us ccTLD.

The URS applies to all gTLDs that went live starting in 2013. It’s similar to the UDRP. Key differences include: you cannot get the domain name transferred to you (it gets suspended for a year), you must have a registered trademark, and the burden of proof is higher. The usRS is the equivalent policy for the .us ccTLD.

CentralNic’s CDRP is almost identical to the UDRP. It applies to third level domains registered in the second level domains operated by CentralNic. You must participate in CentralNic mediation before filing a complaint.

Someone stole my domain name.

If you have a trademark, the information above applies. If not, you need to contact ICANN or the Registrars involved to try to get your domain name back.

I have a dispute over a domain name registered in a ccTLD. How do I know if the UDRP applies or if you handle that dispute?

Our ccTLDs page lists the ccTLDs we manage policies for. Countries sometimes adopt the UDRP in its entirety or adopt a very similar policy. If a country adopts the UDRP, any UDRP provider can handle the case. If a country creates their own policy, even if it is very similar to the UDRP, the country will often specify providers. We do our best to keep as complete a list as we can on our ccTLD Policies page.

A Registrar won’t allow my domain name to be transferred to a new Registrar or has allowed my domain name to be transferred against my will.

There is a policy designed to enforce the Inter-Registrar Transfer Policy. Disputes under the Transfer Dispute Resolution Policy can only be brought by a Registrar against another Registrar so you would need to solicit support from your Registrar. The loser pays in this system. If your Registrar is not willing to help you, you may wish to contact ICANN.

A Registry has specific registration policies that are not being followed:
By the Registry itself

ICANN has two policies that can be used to hold a registry accountable for not following the Registry’s own policies or for encouraging trademark infringement. Both the PDDRP and RRDRP have as a remedy sanctions against the Registry.

By the Registrar Contact ICANN

There are no policies that allow complaints against a Registrar, however, Registrar complaints are followed up by ICANN.

By the Registrant

The SDRP is a policy of limited duration that can be used to challenge a domain name obtained during the registry’s sunrise period. These are listed on our Custom Policies Page by TLD.

Some registries have established special registration requirements and corresponding policies for disputing a domain name’s registration in violation of those requirements, including the REDRP Our Custom Policies page lists those policies by TLD.

Some issues and problems cannot be easily addressed with a dispute resolution policy.
My domain name was stolen or my web designer won’t transfer my domain name to me and I don’t have a trademark or the domain name is generic. If working with the Registrars and ICANN is not effective, you may need to seek remedies in a court of competent jurisdiction.
My trademark is being infringed in a ccTLD but I cannot find evidence of a dispute policy. Unfortunately, many ccTLDs have not made provisions for dispute resolution policies. Generally, the options are: to work with the registrant directly, reach out to the registry for help, or file a complaint in court in the registrant’s jurisdiction.
I had an agreement for a sale of a domain name and the other party backed out. No dispute policies apply. This type of dispute would fall under contract law and you would need to file a complaint in court.
Someone is parking a domain name that I want to buy or refuses to negotiate me over the purchase of a domain name I want. The Policies cannot be used to obtain a domain name that someone is unwilling to sell you. Some of the policies listed above, like UDRP, might apply if you have a trademark that is being infringed.
I have questions about the process. What do I do?
Each Policy has corresponding Rule that walk parties through all the options. We also have an FAQ page. The URS has demonstrations regarding how to use the technology. If you still aren’t sure of the process, email us at domaindispute@adrforum.com. We can’t tell you if you should file but we can help you with the next steps once you decide.
If I want to hire or talk to a lawyer about my situation, who do you recommend?
We cannot recommend anyone, but all of our decisions are searchable at www.adrforum.com/SearchDecisions . You should be able to use the index to find similar cases. The attorneys who handled those cases are listed in the decisions. You can easily look them up on the internet.