In a domain dispute, you may select either one panelist or three panelists to decide who gets a domain name.
How Many Panelists are Optimal for a UDRP Complaint?
It costs less to file a UDRP complaint if you select a single panel member than selecting a three member panel to decide your domain dispute.
Savvy trademark lawyers say that they usually request a single panel member first because the odds weigh heavily in favor of a default. Many domain name owners don’t respond for a variety of reasons. I suspect that many domain name owners can’t figure out how to respond to a UDRP complaint before the deadline and they can’t afford to pay a trademark lawyer between $2000 and $10,000 to respond to them.
If a domain name owner responds and requests three panelists, then it was your destiny.
If the domain name owner acquiesces to your choice of having single panelist, the odds are still in your favor as there are only a few panelists who reject more claims then they grant. The odds of winning domain dispute complaint are about 80% if a single panelist decides the matter.
Some domain name owners complain that some panelists are biased in favor of complainants. We don’t know if there is an implicit bias against domain name owners. Tucows would rather move the matter to a Superior Court, than have WIPO panelists decide a matter. See Tucows v. Renner.
However, there have been a few reverse domain name hijacking decisions in favor of domain names owners recently, so the tide may be turning.
One trademark lawyer says that he always asks for a three panelists, if he is represents a domain name owner who has a decent defense. That way you can usually find at least one member of the panel who is likely to be sympathetic or accepts valid defenses and will hopefully be able to persuade at least one of the other two panelists to decide in favor of the domain name owner.