A Re-Examination of the Defense of Laches After 18 Years of the UDRP

Can the UDRP be used to take away a Domain Name after 20 years?

Complainants can certainly try, as we recently saw with the Queen.com case.

Nevertheless, after 20 years of the UDRP it is high time for panelists to start seriously considering how severe delays in bringing a UDRP Complaint should no longer be tolerated. Many of our members have owned very valuable domain names for very long periods of time, and in many cases have built businesses around them.

That is why we undertook a major study of laches (the defense of delay) and have forcefully proposed that laches be recognized as a valid affirmative defense in the UDRP. We have found that laches has been unfairly sidelined as a valid defense.

Our newest article, A Re-Examination of the Defense of Laches After 18 Years of the UDRP (CircleID), makes the case that laches, as a valid equitable defense in other kinds of dispute, should naturally also be part of the UDRP as well. In the weeks and months ahead, we will be bringing this article to the specific attention of UDRP stakeholders.

If we are successful in having laches recognized as an acceptable defense under the UDRP, then this should both deter frivolous complaints against aged domains, and should also enable aged domains to be more strongly and reliably defended when complaints are filed against them.

The article was written by Zak Muscovitch, ICA Interim General Counsel with invaluable contributions by ICA Board Member, Nat Cohen.

A Re-Examination of the Defense of Laches After 18 Years of the UDRP

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