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How Domain Conflict Resolution Works for the .JP Top-Level Domain

If it's not yours, don't take it.
If it's not right, don't do it.
If it's not true, don't say it.
If you don't know, shut up
Japanese Wisdom


Besides Japan's iconic cherry blossoms, high-speed trains, and sushi bars, the country stands as a vibrant hub for the domaining industry, which has seen remarkable growth recently, surpassing 1.70 million .jp domain name registrations in June 2022 and climbing further to 1.72 million by January 2023.

Initially, a domain name merely served as an internet address, lacking the characteristics of intellectual property rights or the potential for conflicts with such rights. Registrations typically occurred without prior examination for potential conflicts. However, a domain name has evolved to perform a role akin to a trademark. It serves as an identifier for products or services offered by its registrant. This means clashes can occur with other indicators of product origin, such as trademarks and trade names. This can erode the distinctiveness of a renowned trademark and potentially lead to name pollution concerns.
There are multiple forms of domain name disputes, but cybersquatting continues to be the most prevalent, and is an ongoing concern for businesses in Japan. This is the act of using domain names to mimic established companies' trademarks or trade names. Cybersquatting "pirates" register a domain name to later sell it at an inflated price, create disruption, or pressure the related company to buy it.
This practice highlights the contentious nature of domain name ownership and the legal disputes that can emerge. Consequently, addressing these conflicts and ensuring protection against unfair use in domain registrations has become crucial to maintain the integrity of trademarks and prevent potential erosion of their brand identity and distinctiveness.

In this article  we will take a closer look at the domain conflict resolution process in Japan. We will explore what is required to prove unfair usage or infringement of the .jp domain and analyze each of the steps involved in filing a complaint.


Overview of .JP Domain Conflict Resolution

Who handles domain conflict resolution in Japan?

Japan Registry Services (JPRS) assumes responsibility for the technical management and administration of .jp domain names, overseeing their registration processes. However, in instances where disputes emerge concerning .jp domain names, particularly conflicts related to trademarks or trade names, the Japan Intellectual Property Arbitration Center (JIPAC) serves as the designated Dispute Resolution Service Provider (DRSP). Through the Japan Registry Services Dispute Resolution Policy (JP-DRP), JIPAC facilitates a swift resolution process. This policy aims to address complaints promptly, resolving issues by either canceling domain names used in bad faith or facilitating their rightful transfer to legal trademark holders who have filed complaints.

How does the JP-DRP vary from the UDRP?

Although the .JP-DRP draws its structure from the international Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP), it incorporates two localized provisions tailored to Japan's unique conditions.

Grounds for complaint: "Trademark" and beyond

While the UDRP primarily focuses on "trademark or service mark" as the grounds for a complaint, in Japan, this distinction extends further. In the JP-DRP, the complaint basis encompasses not only traditional "trademarks" as defined under the Japanese Trademark Act but also expands to include other significant indicators. This broader scope deliberately covers well-known personal names and other relevant identifiers, a move intended to safeguard against potential cybersquatting attempts.

Evaluation of bad faith usage

In the UDRP framework, complainants must establish both the registration and the ongoing use of a domain for unfair purposes. However, the JP-DRP takes a slightly different approach. Here, a complaint may be valid if the domain name has either been registered for unfair purposes or is currently being used in such a manner. This distinction in the JP-DRP widens the criteria for considering a complaint, aiming to address cases where either registration or usage indicates unfair intentions.

The adaptation of the JP-DRP acknowledges the nuances and specific circumstances prevalent in Japan, aiming to ensure a more comprehensive protection framework for domain name disputes, especially concerning well-known names and broader indicators beyond traditional trademarks.

What Are the Main Features of the Dispute Resolution Process in Japan?

Procedures involve the submission of written complaints and responses to the DRSP. Regardless of a local presence, all processes typically transpire in Japanese. Panelists are appointed based on a chosen number (one or three) by the parties involved. The panel renders a decision regarding the domain name registration, implemented by JPRS unless contested in court within a specified timeframe, during which JPRS defers implementation. If the complainant isn't eligible to register the domain, it gets transferred without specified name server details by JPRS.
The procedures under the JP-DRP offer the following attributes:
(a) Simplicity:
Deliberations primarily rely on submitted documents from involved parties.
(b) Expediency:
Decisions are rendered within a maximum of 55 days from complaint filing.
(c) Non-binding nature:
Panel decisions are not binding, allowing parties dissatisfied with the ruling to pursue legal action in court.

Filing a Complaint

When a trademark holder suspects a .jp domain name has been registered or used in bad faith, the process typically commences with the filing of a complaint with JIPAC. The Complaint forms can be downloaded from JIPAC's online platform and should be completed, and submitted to the Center's designated email address: info@ip-adr.gr.jp

In the JP Domain Name Dispute Resolution, for a complainant to win their case, they need to prove each of the following three key points about the domain in question:

  • Similarity to trademark: The domain registered by the owner should either be exactly the same or so similar to the complainant's trademark that it causes confusion.

  • Lack of rights or interests: The owner of the domain shouldn't have any valid rights or legitimate interests associated with that specific domain name.

  • Bad faith registration or usage: The domain should have been registered or used by the owner in a way that shows unfair intent or bad faith, harming the complainant in some manner.

Mediation and Resolution

Having received a complaint and providing the dispute-resolution service fee has been paid by the Complainant, the JIPAC will then have 5 days to notify the domain registrant about the allegations, giving them 20 days to respond. This phase provides a chance for both parties to communicate and potentially resolve the dispute through discussion, clarification, or even reaching an agreement before the case proceeds to a formal panel decision.


After the response period, a panel of experts consisting of attorneys-at-law, patent attorneys, and academics is appointed by JIPAC to review the case. These experts evaluate the evidence, including trademark rights and domain registration details. When the Complainant and Registrant have multiple issues to be addressed, they can ask the panel to have them handled together. The panel then deliberates and issues a decision based on the evidence presented within 14 days of the panel's appointment. If the panel finds that the domain was registered or used in bad faith and infringes on the trademark holder's rights, it may order the cancellation or transfer of the domain name.

Enforcement of the Decision

If the decision favors the complainant, JIPAC will uphold the panel's decision by facilitating either the cancellation or transfer of the domain name to the rightful trademark holder, which are two the remedies available. JPNIC will publish all decisions online, although it may choose to omit some specific parts of the decision if it deems necessary.

Figure 1: Number of Complaints in accordance with the .jp Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. Source: Japan Registry Services.


The number of .jp domain disputes referred to arbitration have shown fluctuations in recent years: efforts have been introduced to counter cybersquatting and the enhanced online accessibility of arbitration case information has improved users' anticipation of potential conflicts.
However, despite the evolving e-commerce landscape, businesses navigating Japan's online sphere continue to grapple with persistent challenges, especially concerning domain name infringement, particularly within the .jp domain. These enduring issues underscore the critical need for perpetual vigilance in safeguarding one's online presence. Should a conflict arise, prompt and decisive action becomes imperative. Therefore, comprehending and adhering to the domain conflict resolution steps outlined in this post is crucial for safeguarding and preserving a brand's online identity within the distinctive landscape of the .jp domain.

List of Abbreviations

The following abbreviations mentioned in this post represent the key entities, policies, and services involved in managing, resolving, and overseeing domain name-related matters in Japan and globally.

  • JP-DRP: Japan Registry Services Dispute Resolution Policy. This policy outlines the procedures and guidelines for resolving disputes related to domain names under the .jp domain extension in Japan.

  • UDRP: Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy. This is a policy established by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that provides a framework for resolving domain name disputes globally. It's commonly used for generic top-level domains (gTLDs) like .com, .net, .org, etc.

  • JPNIC: Japan Network Information Center. JPNIC is the organization responsible for managing and coordinating internet resources, domain name registration, and IP address allocation in Japan. It oversees the administration of Japan's internet infrastructure.

  • DRSP: Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Service Provider. A DRSP is an organization or entity accredited to provide dispute resolution services for domain name disputes as per specific policies such as JP-DRP or UDRP. These providers assist in resolving conflicts related to domain name registrations.

  • JIPAC: Japan Intellectual Property Arbitration Center. JIPAC handles various intellectual property disputes and offers alternative dispute resolution methods, such as the JP-DRP (Japan's Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy), to resolve conflicts related to domain names registered under the .jp domain. It is the designated Dispute-Resolution Service Provider.

  • JPRS: Japan Registry Services. JPRS is an organization responsible for managing and operating the domain name system (DNS) infrastructure for Japan's country-code top-level domain (ccTLD), including .jp domains. JPRS works under the authority of JPNIC to maintain the stability and functionality of Japan's internet infrastructure.

Our Step-by-Step Guide to Filing a .JP Complaint

The flowchart below breaks down the resolution process for .jp domain name disputes. The number of days indicates the maximum number of days elapsed in completing each step of the process.


STEP 1. The Complainant discovers a domain name infringement and submits a written complaint submitted to the Dispute Resolution Service Provider. Disputes typically involve cases where:

  • The domain is similar to a trademark or service mark.

  • The domain owner has no rights or legitimate interests.

  • The domain is being used in bad faith.


STEP 2. Dispute Resolution Service Provider receives the written complaint received (DRSP).

STEP 3. JPNIC and JPRS is advised of the disputed domain name (DRSP--, JPNIC, JPRS).

STEP 4. DRSP conducts a formal examination of the written complaint (DRSP). Complainant is notified of any deficiencies found and given 5 days to correct them.


STEP 5. Fee is paid by the Complainant within 10 days of receipt of a written complaint. (Complainant--, DRSP).


STEP 6. Written complaint sent to registrant (DRSP--, registrant). Within 5 days of receipt of fee. The payment date signifies the commencement of the Dispute Resolution process.

STEP 7. The DRSP communicates the disputed domain name and commencement of the process to the various parties involved (DRSP--, disputants, JPNIC, JPRS).


STEP 8. Written response submitted is submitted by the Registrant to the DRSP within 20 days of the process commencement date (Registrant--, DRSP).

STEP 9. The written response is sent to the complainant (DRSP--, complainant).


STEP 10. A panel of experts is appointed by the DRSP within 5 days of receipt of the written response. (DRSP--, complainant).

STEP 11. The panel conducts its formal deliberation process.


STEP 12. The Panel communicates its decision to the DRSP within 14 days of its appointment.


STEP 13. The DRSP communicates and publishes its decision to the parties involved within 3 days of receiving the Panel's decision. (DRSP--, disputants, JPNIC,JPRS).

STEP 14. A decision is Implemented and referred to the JPRS (if it is to cancel or transfer the domain name) (JPRS). Implementation is deferred for 10 days after communication of the decision. If no lawsuit is filed in jurisdictional court within these 10 days, then the decision is implemented. (DPRS-JPRS).