Filing a complaint under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is usually seen as a quicker and less-expensive alternative to litigation, but the filing fees charged by the UDRP service providers are often an important consideration.
Understanding the fees charged by the four providers — the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Forum (formerly the National Arbitration Forum), the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC), and the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (ADNDRC) — is therefore vital to the process.
Three of the four UDRP service providers (WIPO, the Forum, and ADNDRC) all offer fees that begin at comparable rates ($1,300 to $1,500), while CAC offers a much lower starting point ($800). However, filing fees are not the only consideration when trying to decide where to file a UDRP complaint. (See, for example, my 2012 blog post on “10 Differences Between WIPO and NAF.”)
Of course, filing fees are only one consideration when deciding whether to file a UDRP complaint. If a trademark owner hires an attorney to handle the process, then legal fees are also important.
Still, here’s an overview of the UDRP service providers’ filing fees (all prices are in U.S. dollars), along with notes about each:
WIPO’s filing fees begin at $1,500 for a complaint that contains up to five domain names and involves a single-member panel (or $4,000 for a three-member panel). If the complaint includes six to 10 domain names, then the filing fee increases to $2,000 for a single-member panel (or $5,000 for a three-member panel). For complaints that involve more than 10 domain names, a trademark owner must contact WIPO to obtain a quote.
Note: WIPO expressly states that it will provide a partial refund of the filing fee if a complaint is withdrawn or terminated before a panel has been appointed (as often happens when the parties settle their dispute). In the case of a $1,500 filing fee, the refund is usually $1,000.
The Forum’s filing fees begin at $1,300 for a complaint that contains one or two domain names and involves a single-member panel (or $2,600 for a three-member panel). The single-member panel fees then increase to $1,450 for three to five domain names, $1,800 for six to 10 domain names, and $2,250 for 11 to 15 domain names. Fees for three-member panels are twice as much, and trademark owners filing complaints with 16 or more domain names must contact the Forum for a fee quote.
Note: The Forum also charges fees for other parts of the UDRP proceeding, including $100 for an extension to file a response and $400 for submitting additional written statements and documents.
The Czech Arbitration Court’s filing fees begin at $800 for a complaint that contains up to five domain names and involves a single-member panel ($2,600 for three members) and then rise to $1,100 for six to 10 domain names ($3,200 for three members), $1,450 for 11 to 20 domain names ($3,800 for three members), $1,550 for 21 to 30 domain names ($4,400 for three members), $1,900 for 31 to 40 domain names ($5,000 for three members), and $2,000 for 41 to 50 domain names ($5,600 for three members). Fees for larger complaints are "to be decided in consultation with CAC.”
Note: Despite CAC’s relatively low fees, CAC is not a popular UDRP service provider. Also, CAC charges an “additional” fee if a response is filed or if the panel decides that doing so is “appropriate… having regard to the complexity of the proceeding.” Like WIPO, CAC will refund a portion of the filing fee if a proceeding is terminated before a panel is appointed (typically $400 of the $800 filing fee in a small case).
The ADNDRC ‘s filing fees begin at $1,300 for or a complaint that contains one or two domain names and involves a single-member panel (or $2,800 for a three-member panel). The single-member panel fees then increase to $1,600 for three to five domain names ($3,300 for a three-member panel), and $1,900 for six to nine domain names ($3,800 for a three-member panel). A trademark owner seeking to file a complaint with 10 or more domain names should contact the relevant office of the ADNDRC to obtain the fee.
Note: ADNDRC charges a fee of $150 if an amendment is required “due to deficiencies in the Complaint.