United States: UDRP Panel Tells Snapchat To Check Itself Regarding Snapchatcheck.com

Last Updated: February 25 2015
Article by Joshua S. Jarvis

By now you've probably heard of Snapchat.  But if you are not among its growing core base of users between 13 and 23 years of age (probably a good deal younger than you, constant reader) there's a good chance you are not a Snapchat user. Snapchat is, as they said once upon a time, all the rage with the kids.  It's a social messaging mobile app that allows users to send photos and videos — "Snaps" —  to groups of friends, which can be viewed on the recipient's mobile device only for a very limited time.  It's a mashup of text messaging, Internet chat, and video streaming that seems tailor-made for the Generation Z crowd.

The Snapchat Hack

These days, being the new cool social app in the room is like painting a target on your back.  In December 2013, after the revelation of a security vulnerability and subsequent "mitigation" of the vulnerability implemented by Snapchat, Snapchat was hacked to the tune of 4.6 million stolen usernames and phone numbers. The purpose of the hack, ostensibly, was to "raise public awareness" and to "put public pressure on Snapchat" to fix the vulnerability.

Registration of Snapchatcheck.com

A few days after the hack, in January 2014, someone — widely believed to be Bourne Technologies, but officially a registrant hidden behind a privacy service and identified only as  "Private Registrant / A Happy Dreamhost Customer"– registered the domain name snapchatcheck.com, and launched a website at www.snapchatcheck.com, where Snapchat users could check to see whether their personal data had been leaked in the Snapchat security breach.  Other than a short description of its purpose and a search box, the simple, single-page site (which remains active as of the date of this post) contained little else except for a small Snapchat logo and copyright notice featuring a link to Bourne Technologies' website.

Snapchat's UDRP Complaint

Nearly a year after the domain name was registered and the site launched, and perhaps after unsuccessful attempts to shut down the website and/or obtain the snapchatcheck.com domain name via other means, Snapchat filed a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) complaint with the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) in order to wrest the domain name from the hands of its registrant.

A UDRP dispute is an arbitration proceeding before an independent Panel — in this case, a single-panelist Panel — and typically administered either by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or the NAF.  Registrants of nearly all top-level domains (.com, .org, and so forth) agree to be bound by the UDRP or similar dispute resolution procedures in their domain name registration agreements, which are intended to be low-cost processes for addressing cybersquatting and other bad-faith domain name registration and use.  A successful UDRP complainant is awarded the subject domain name (cancellation of the domain name is available in the alternative, but this rarely requested — it's generally to the complainant's benefit to control the domain name post-dispute).

To prevail in a UDRP proceeding, the complainant must satisfy three "prongs," which Snapchat argued as follows:

  1. The snapchatcheck.com domain is identical or confusingly to Snapchat's SNAPCHAT trademark;
  2. The registrant does not have any rights or legitimate interests in the snapchatcheck.com domain name; and
  3. The registrant has registered and use the snapchatcheck.com domain name in bad faith.

To support the second prong, Snapchat argued that the registrant was not providing any bona fide services under the subject domain, and that the use of the well-known SNAPCHAT mark and logo constituted an attempt to deceive users into believing that the website was provided by or otherwise affiliated with Snapchat, which use was not a legitimate use of the domain name.  Further, Snapchat argued that this unauthorized trademark use, along with the link to Bourne Technologies' website (which revealed the motive to be commercial in nature), demonstrated that the domain was registered and then used in bad faith.

The registrant, perhaps confident in its legal position, didn't bother to respond.  While a good-faith registrant typically benefits from setting forth a defense, all UDRP complaints are evaluated on their merits, and automatic default judgment is generally unavailable.

The Panel's Decision

The NAF Panel issued its decision in January 2015.  Even absent a response by the registrant, the sole Panelist was unconvinced by Snapchat's arguments.  While the first prong was easily satisfied, the Panel conducted its own research outside of the written record, learned of the Snapchat hack, and determined that the registrant was making "a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the domain name (without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the trademark or service mark at issue)," and that the registrant had "established...legitimate rights in the domain name."

As for the third prong, the determination that the registrant had rights or legitimate interests in the domain invoked a presumption that the domain was not registered or use in bad faith.  Without addressing Snapchat's specific arguments, the Panel determined that the circumstances as a whole simply didn't support the conclusion that the snapchatcheck.com domain was registered and used in bad faith.  As the three elements of the UDRP were not satisfied, relief was denied.

What Comes Next?

The UDRP does not provide for an administrative appeal process.  Thus, if Snapchat wishes to pursue the matter further, it will probably commence a civil action under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1125(d), which would probably include various other trademark claims under the Lanham Act.  To our knowledge, no such dispute has been instituted — yet.  Snapchat could also offer to purchase the domain from the registrant (if it hasn't already).  In any event, if you're a Snapchat user still concerned about your personal info in the wake of the Snapchat hack, the www.snapchatcheck.com remains available!

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
14 Dec 2017, Seminar, Boston, United States

The trustees of The Foley Hoag Foundation invite you to the upcoming Speaker Series event with David Friedman, Senior Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs of the Boston Red Sox.

15 Dec 2017, Seminar, Boston, United States

The New England Electricity Restructuring Roundtable has been meeting bimonthly since 1995 to discuss current topics related to important changes in the electric power industry in Massachusetts and throughout New England.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.