IP | Abusive Registration of Domains

How do we know a domain name has been registered abusively?

What exactly is abusive registration? Well abusive registration is where a domain name has been registered abusively. The complainant will have to prove that the domain name either:

  • At the time when the registration or acquisition took place, took unfair advantage of or was unfairly detrimental to the complainants rights; or
  • Has been used in a manner which took unfair advantage of or was unfairly detrimental to the complainants rights
  • OR both of the above.

So in fact by testing the situation against the above points, you cover the time of registration and the later use of that registration. It also covers the fact that there is unfairness involved which was at the detriment to the claimant.

So when trying to prove if a domain name has been abusively registered it needs to be proven that there was an unfair motive at that time, or just after registration.

It is not necessary to prove what the registrant was thinking when he made an abusive registration, just to prove that it was unfair.

Courts in the case of ‘Citigroup’ did find though that sometimes it may not be necessarily ‘unfair’ but that the registration is problematic and ongoing.

According to the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) a non-exhaustive list of factors showing abusive registration is as follows:

  • Circumstances indicating that the Respondent has registered or otherwise acquired the Domain Name primarily:
    • for the purposes of selling, renting or otherwise transferring the Domain Name to the Complainant or to a competitor of the Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Respondent’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly associated with acquiring or using the Domain Name;
    • as a blocking registration against a name or mark in which the Complainant has Rights; or
    • for the purpose of unfairly disrupting the business of the Complainant;
  • Circumstances indicating that the Respondent is using or threatening to use the Domain Name in a way which has confused or is likely to confuse people or businesses into believing that the Domain Name is registered to, operated or authorised by, or otherwise connected with the Complainant;
  • The Complainant can demonstrate that the Respondent is engaged in a pattern of registrations where the Respondent is the registrant of domain names which correspond to well known names or trademarks in which the Respondent has no apparent rights, and the Domain Name is part of that pattern;
  • It is independently verified that the Respondent has given false contact details to us; or
    • The Domain Name was registered as a result of a relationship between the Complainant and the Respondent, and the Complainant:
    • has been using the Domain Name registration exclusively; and
    • paid for the registration and/or renewal of the Domain Name registration.

Failure on the Respondent’s part to use the Domain Name for the purposes of email or a web site is not in itself evidence that the Domain Name is an Abusive Registration.

There shall be a presumption of Abusive Registration if the Complainant proves that the Respondent has been found to have made an Abusive Registration in three (3) or more DRS cases in the two (2) years before the Complaint was filed.

For more specific advice on your rights in case of abusive registration of a domain either in Cyprus or abroad, you can get in touch with our IP Lawyers.