The URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension System) is intended to offer a lighter complement to the existing UDRP (Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy). All of the new gTLD extensions are subject to the URS Rules. If you are going to invest in any of the new gTLDs that will be flooding the market, you need to be aware of how these new rules will effect your investments.
In the next few days, I will be reviewing various portions of the URS; how each part may differ from the UDRP of which we are all familiar; how to avoid getting our investments taken away by trademark holders; how the new system works; how much it may cost in time and money to defend a URS action; what safeguards can you put in place to prevent adverse rulings; who are the panelists who will be deciding whether or not you should be allowed to keep your invested property; and what recourse, if any, do you have from an adverse ruling.
PART I – What is the URS and how does it differ from the UDRP?
According to ICANN, the Uniform Rapid Suspension System is a rights protection mechanism that complements the existing Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) by offering a lower-cost, faster path to relief for rights holders experiencing the most clear-cut cases of infringement. Complainants simply fill out a form provided by the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) or WIPO and must register as Complainants. Notice of the litigation is sent by the Complainant to the WHOIS address of the Registrant of the domain name, not by the NAF or WIPO.
According to the NAF Supplemental Rules, (b) The Complaint will be auto-generated elecronically based upon the domain names entered, the current Whois information for the domain names, the arguments entered by Complainant, and the documents uploaded per the URS Procedure and Rules.
(c) If the domain name is registered with a privacy or proxy service, the following rules apply to the identification of the Respondent and the naming of the case:
(i) The Respondent shall be named as listed in the Whois when the case is filed.
(ii) If a Registrar or Registry, in their URS Section 4.1 notification to the Forum, notifies the Forum of alternate contact information for the Respondent, that information will be included in the Notice of the Complaint referenced in URS Section 4.3.
(iii) The first entity to use the encrypted link (sent with the Notice of Complaint) to respond shall be the Respondent in the case.
(iv) The Respondent may make contentions within the number of words allowed in the Response for the Examiner to rename the case.
(v) The Examiner Determination regarding the name of the case is final.
There is one Examiner and neither the Respondent nor the Complainant has any say in who that person may be. Also, once the Complaint Form is filed, there can be no Amendment under the Rules.
Here are two more interesting changes from the UDRP Procedures:
(i) Where a case has multiple respondents, the first respondent to use the encrypted link to respond will be the Respondent for the case. No other responses will be permitted.
(ii) If you are named in a case that contains domain names not registered or controlled by you, you may request that the Examiner dismiss the case as to any domain names not owned by you. It is up to the Examiner’s discretion to make a factual finding as to whether or not the evidence supports your claim.
Unlike the UDRP, there is a built-in appellate process which we shall discuss at length in a future article. We shall also discuss the fees and the time for decisions.
Thanks for “listening”
The Neu Facebook
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Nice first installment!
I will be looking forward to the follow up articles.
This might be a case of devil we know vs. one we don’t.
Some of the trademarks are downright silly and generic, such as “O” and “open.”
IF one is using the domain in a generic sense (for example, not posing as “Oprah” or “O Magazine”), can we assume that we are safe, or, at least, safer?
I totally understand if someone buys O.whatever or open.whatever and then poses as the TM holder or includes links to their TM’s on parking pages — they deserve to be slapped with a URS — but if the domain investor is using the domain in its generic sense, why would these URS cases even be allowed to go forward?
If this is going to be such a problem, then investing in these new gTLDs would be foolish.