• Domain Name Dispute Procedure Not Proper Way to Resolve Copyright Infringement Claim
  • April 6, 2009
  • Law Firm: Winston & Strawn LLP - Chicago Office
  • A Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) Panel denied Viacom International, Inc. relief in its complaint over the domain name stansdad.com. The UDRP is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism designed to resolve domain name disputes in a quick and cost-effective manner. In its complaint, Viacom alleged that the registrant was using the domain name to resolve to a Web site where the illegal distribution and sale of unauthorized and infringing copies of episodes of its South Park television program was occurring. The name “stansdad” refers to one of the characters in the show. The panel found for the domain name owner and noted that the UDRP was designed to deal with situations where a party registers a domain name that consists of or contains the trademark of another, which would lead a user to believe that if the user were to enter the domain name in a browser, the user would be taken to a Web site that was sponsored by or affiliated with the trademark owner. It was not intended to prevent copyright infringement. The panel further noted that although Viacom may well have legitimate concerns regarding the conduct of the domain name owner and the content displayed on the Web site, the UDRP is not the vehicle to address such concerns.

    TIP: The UDRP can be a cost-effective tool to deal with domain names that infringe a company’s trademarks, but generally may not be used directly to challenge the content posted on Web sites.