Journal Article

Domain Name DRS Policies: from the sublime to the ridiculous

Tony Willoughby

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 1, issue 8, pages 539-549
Published in print July 2006 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online May 2006 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jiplp/jpl084
Domain Name DRS Policies: from the sublime to the ridiculous

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Legal context. Cybersquatting emerged as a major problem for trade mark owners in the latter part of the 1990s. Litigation has proved a heavy and expensive method of resolving disputes. Over the past decade, various alternative dispute resolution policies have been introduced, most notably the UDRP and most recently the .eu ADR Procedure.

Key points. The article tracks the development of dispute resolution and associated sunrise policies from the UDRP, via the NOMINET DRS Policy to the new .eu ADR Procedure. The UDRP was designed to assist nobody but trade mark owners. The NOMINET DRS Policy is wider and covers other rights owners without being specific as to the nature of the relevant rights. The .eu ADR Procedure on the other hand expressly extends to a wide variety of rights ranging from trade mark rights to rights in respect of family names and condemns speculative as well as abusive registrations. The article draws attention to some of the shortcomings of the .eu ADR Procedure and laments the fact that the European Commission, which is responsible for the introduction of the .eu domain, did not consult more widely with a view to arriving at a sensible workable result. The author predicts a shambles both in relation to the .eu sunrise policy and the ADR procedure.

Practical significance. The UDRP, the NOMINET DRS, and the .eu ADR Procedure all contain very similarly worded provisions, which help to conceal the significant differences between them. Practitioners formulating and/or responding to complaints under these policies and procedures need to be aware of the differences.

Journal Article.  7032 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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