Update from Durban #ICANN47: URS Process

Kristine DorrainIn a presentation yesterday at ICANN’s 47th meeting in Durban, South Africa, Kristine Dorrain of the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) provided an update on the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) System.

As a reminder, the URS is a new rights-protection mechanism, introduced by ICANN in March of 2013, which aims to complement the existing Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, or UDRP, by providing similar services in a faster, lower-cost fashion.

The NAF will be one of the providers to administrate the program. While the broad contours of the URS program have been discussed quite a bit in recent months, Dorrain shed light on some key differences brand owners can expect when using this program, including:

  • Fees: Filings will cost $375 USD (For 1-14 domains), $400 (15-100) and $500 (+101). Fees are much lower than for the UDRP process (starting at $1,500 per Complaint), essentially because theURSprocess will be self-service in nature, involving a series of check boxes and just one text box allowing 500 words. This takes the brunt of the paperwork off the NAF administrators.
  • Only one panelist, or arbitrator, will be allowed for the URS process, versus the option of one or three for the UDRP process.
  • Rather than being organized by cases, the system will be organized by domains. This means that if a dispute is filed for multiple domains, all of the proper documents (screen shots, WHOIS records, trademark records, etc.) will need to be uploaded individually for each domain, except for arguments, where a single one will apply to all the disputed domains.
  • After a party (Complainant) initiates a URS procedure, the Respondent will have 14 days to file a Response.
  • If, after 14 days, the Complainant and the provider receive no response, the Complaint proceeds to Default and an Examiner will review it for a prima facie case. (The Registrant is prohibited from changing the site content and the WHOIS.) The Examiner will order the suspension of the domain name/s for which a prima facie case has been established. If the case lacks prima facie, the Provider will dismiss the Complaint.
  • If a Response is filed within 180 days after a Default Determination, the Registry Operator will then modify the name servers so that the domain name(s) resolve to the relevant IP address(es) but remain locked as if the Response had been filed in a timely manner. Even after the initial 180 days, a Respondent could ask for an extension of another 180 days. (In actuality, a Respondent has up to one year to reply to any URS procedure.)
  • The Respondent will have to pay the same fees as the Complainant ($375, $400, or $500, depending on the case) if he decides to file a response more than 30 days after the URS starts or if the Complaint includes more than 15 domains.
  • Appeal fees will be $300. Appeals will initiate a second review by a completely new Panel. Two things can happen as a result of an appeal: a Decision is made by the Panel after review—confirming the previous Decision or rendering a new one—or the Panel can find the circumstances of the case more appropriate for a UDRP filing and refer the party to that process. In the latter case, some of the fees from the URS process will apply to the UDRP filing.

It is great to see details of this program being worked out and discussed. As with any new process, there are bound to be questions. If you would like some additional insight into the process or have questions you need answered, please let us know. We will be happy to assist you.  Follow us @CSCDBS or visit us on Linkedin.