Searching decisions under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is important -- for evaluating the merits of a potential case and also, of course, for citing precedent when drafting documents (such as a complaint and a response) in an actual case.
But, searching UDRP decisions is not always an easy task. It's important to know both where to search and how to search.
Unfortunately, there is no longer an official, central repository of all UDRP decisions that is freely available online. Instead, each of the UDRP service providers publishes its own search page, at the links below:
- World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- The Forum (formerly known as the National Arbitration Forum, or NAF)
- Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (ADNDRC)
- Czech Arbitration Court (CAC)
(The newest UDRP service provider, the Arab Center for Dispute Resolution, has had only two cases as of this writing and does not have -- or, therefore, need -- a search tool.)
Each of these providers offers a different search engine, some of which are better than others. For example, three of the search pages (WIPO, the Forum and CAC) offer field-based searches with the ability to find decisions based on criteria such as the disputed domain name, the complainant or the respondent; ADNDRC provides only a general search field.
There are other differences, too. For example, WIPO and the Forum are the only providers that also provide an index-based search. WIPO and the Forum offer the ability to limit searches to specific domain name dispute policies (other than the UDRP), but none of the providers lets users search by all relevant criteria, and only the Forum allows searches by specific top-level domains within the UDRP.
Google and Other Services
For advanced searches, it's sometimes helpful to conduct a Google search instead of a UDRP-specific tool, limiting results to the relevant UDRP service provider's domain.
For example, adding "site:wipo.int" (without the quotes) to the beginning of a general Google search will produce results only from the WIPO website. Because this means that the results may contain pages other than UDRP decisions, I often add another phrase to my search that I know will produce a UDRP result (such as: "The Complaint was filed with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center"). Yes, it's awkward, but it works pretty well.
There are some third-party websites that offer UDRP search tools, such as UDRP Search, DNDisputes and DomainFight.net. But, like the official UDRP service providers' engines, these, too, have limitations.
While DNDisputes offers more search fields, decisions are limited to those from WIPO; and DomainFight.net's are limited to WIPO and the Forum. UDRP Search's options are not very robust.
Bottom Line: Use Them All
Ultimately, using some combination of all of the above tools and techniques is often the best practice. Doing so will enable you to search the widest number of decisions in the most advanced way possible.
After more than 17 years and 60,000 decisions, UDRP jurisprudence is obviously very robust. Unfortunately, finding the most important and relevant decisions requires mastery of both the art and science of search.
Update: This blog post was updated on August 11, 2017, to indicate that the Forum allows searches by specific top-level domains within the UDRP.