Rights and Responsibilities When Registering a Domain Name

ICANN has set forth a list of Rights and Responsibilities for the registrant and registrar of domain names.  When you register a domain you are required to do things such as agree to post your valid contact information publicly and agree to the trademark dispute policy.  ICANN requires accurate information but the rules are so vague and imprecise there are no actual requirements to do anything:

“Under the approach of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement, the registrar is given discretion to act as appropriate in light of the particular circumstances of each case.” 

In other words, registrars do what they want so ICANN does not have to enforce anything related to whois accuracy but they do maintain a reporting system.

The Domain Dispute policies are similar to the UDRP policy covering .com/.net/org, etc:

a. Applicable Disputes. You are required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a “complainant”) asserts to the applicable Provider, in compliance with the Rules of Procedure, that

(i) your domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; and

(ii) you have no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name; and

(iii) your domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith.

In the administrative proceeding, the complainant must prove that each of these three elements are present.

b. Evidence of Registration and Use in Bad Faith. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a)(iii), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found by the Panel to be present, shall be evidence of the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith:

(i) circumstances indicating that you have registered or you have acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark or service mark or to a competitor of that complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of your documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the domain name; or

(ii) you have registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding domain name, provided that you have engaged in a pattern of such conduct; or

(iii) you have registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor; or

(iv) by using the domain name, you have intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to your web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant’s mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of your web site or location or of a product or service on your web site or location.