What is the point of a UDRP complaint if Complainant asks for a cancellation?

When a Complainant files a UDRP complaint, it has to choose between transferring the disputed domain name and canceling the domain name. The concerned registrar will implement the Panel’s decision 10 business days after it receives notification of the decision from the dispute resolution service provider, unless it receives from the registrant during that 10-day period official documentation (such as a copy of a complaint, file-stamped by the clerk of the court) that the registrant has commenced a lawsuit against the Complainant in the proper jurisdiction.

Of course most of the Complainants choose the transfer option. What is the point of a UDRP complaint if Complainant asks for a cancellation?

A few days back I noticed that Accor from Paris, France won the UDRP complaint for the domain name accorholidays.com. Accor claimed to be a leader in the global hospitality industry and has provided hotel services for nearly 45 years. A domain like  accorholidays.com would make sense to me that would be a perfect match for this company and it’s services. To my surprise the Complainant chose to cancel the domain name. I am not really familiar with the company but the domain seems like a nice fit.

This means that after the 10 business day waiting period the domain name will enter redemption status and after 35 it will be deleted and will be available for registration to any interested party.

I always thought that the very few Complainants that chose to cancel domain names did so because the domain name didn’t make any sense for their business. eg. It could be something like MicrosoftTakeout.com or NewYorkTimesSpaceTravel.com. But no.

I made a search for all the Complaints that Accor has filed in the past 10 years. There are 175 complaints and 7 of them are still active. A UDRP complaint costs $1300 for 1 or 2 domains at the National Arbitration Center. At a renewal rate of  $10, Accor could keep a domain name for 130 years for the price of the Complaint.

Accor chose 23 times to have the domain names canceled after winning the UDRP complaint. That resulted in 63 canceled domain names. Domains that dropped and were then free to register. Here are the results of these drops:

3 domains are either in pending delete status or about to be deleted.
6 domains have been registered by other parties and,
6 domains have been registered by Accor years after the domains were deleted!!!

Actually 4 of the Accor registered domains were registered 3 years after the UDRP complaint and 1 was registered 2 years later.

Why were the domains canceled only to be registered later?

I don’t really understand why this is done but I have a suspicion. The simple answer is the principal of Dreyfus & Associés, UDRP panelist Ms. Nathalie Dreyfus.  Dreyfus & Associés has been the representative in most if not all of the 175 Accor domain disputes. Is it possible that the domains are canceled only to be caught by other parties and then a UDRP complaint could be filed again? You tell me…

John Berryhill has talked about Ms. Natalie Dreyfus about some other matter. Nat Cohen has also talked about her here. They have talked about how Nathalie Dreyfus serves as a UDRP panelist but at the same time has her own IP law firm and represents trademark holders in domain disputes. But that is another story…

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About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He loves domains and building websites. He is online since 1995, learned about html in 1996 and got into domains in 2002. He started the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

8 comments

  1. Apparently they don’t want to manage the canceled domains. Ironic, as they end up sending out another UDRP, eventually.

  2. Actually you hit the point.
    Attorneys and lawyers live out of these so why throw away the chance to have a new lawsuit or UDRP filed (paid by the complainant).

    I have lived the same experience somehow.

  3. they just dont know abt cancelling domain

    stupid advice from their lawyers 😉

  4. When I worked as a brand protection manager for a large corporation we were placed in this situation many times, to cancel or transfer. We had a portfolio of thousands of domains and many were simply “protection” domains by that I mean domains we were never going to use but we also did not want others being able to use them so we registered them to protect our brand.

    Many times the discussion with our attorneys came up as to the cost vs benefit. Because whether you agree or not it can become very expensive buying and holding domains just for protection. The article makes a valid point that… “A UDRP complaint costs $1300 for 1 or 2 domains at the National Arbitration Center. At a renewal rate of $10, Accor could keep a domain name for 130 years for the price of the Complaint.”

    But there are other factors a company has to consider, like budgets for one. At least for the companies I worked for we budgeted every year for domains that had to include renewals, new domains, and protection domains. And unfortunately companies do not have an unlimited budget for domains. Plus the budget for legal matters is a separate budget. So if you end up having to file another UDRP well the cost is high but guess what legals budget took into account x-number of UDRPs for the year.

    Another thing to consider is not every dispute results in the filing of a UDRP (thank goodness). In fact the majority of the disputes I filed were resolved with a single cease and desist letter. So companies also look at it each situation and say – well if this domain gets picked up again will it result in another UDRP or will it be just a C&D?

    All that being said I have to admit while I was in the business I don’t recall us ever canceling a domain that we obtained via UDRP. It just didn’t make much sense. But we often canceled/dropped domains where we prevailed in a C&D matter. Though there does seem there might be a “fox watching the hen house” situation here with the attorneys.

    I apologize for the rather long comment/thought.

    • Thank you Mark for this great comment.
      In my search with Accor it seems that there is no plan. Useful domains are being canceled, while domains with 4 dashes are being transfered.
      And there is proof that some of the dropped domains were useful as they were registered by Accor a couple of years later.

      Also the cost of the UDRP complaint is just one small part of the fees. I am sure that the law firm charges a lot more than $1300 for each UDRP complaint, the “research” before the UDRP complaint, C&D cost (if any) and the follow up to the UDRP complaint. Fees could easily get north of $5000 for all that even at a discount fee. (The attorney bulk submits UDRP complaints.)

      Exactly:

      All that being said I have to admit while I was in the business I don’t recall us ever canceling a domain that we obtained via UDRP. It just didn’t make much sense.

      • Konstantinos –

        All Great Points.

        You are correct on the fees over and above the UDRP filing cost. It’s been a while but if I recall correctly we had negotiated with our partner law firm a standard cost that took the filing and additional fees into account with limits of course. Which in most cases worked out fine. But yes the additional fees can get quite high. All the more reason we didn’t cancel on a UDRP domain.

        Wow! Based on your search it sounds to me like Accor is severely lacking in their online brand protection / domain management department. Perhaps I should give them a call. 🙂

      • Mark,
        it seems that the pattern changed in 2009. Since 2000 when Accor had it’s first UDRP complaint there wasn’t a single cancellation up until 2009.
        After that they have had many.

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