The new rules for the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) -- which went into effect on July 31, 2015 -- clarify the process for "locking" a domain name, as I've written about before. But the rules also contain a few other changes. Here, specifically, is how they will impact parties in domain name dispute proceedings:
- A complainant no longer needs to send a copy of the complaint to the respondent (that is, the domain name registrant/cybersquatter). Instead, the dispute provider -- the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the Forum, the Czech Arbitration Court (CAC) or the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre (ADNDRC) -- will now forward the complaint to the respondent (but not until the registrar has applied a "lock" status to the domain name(s) in dispute). This is the rule change that should help reduce cyberflight.
- Registrars must now respond to the dispute provider's verification request within two business days, which presumably will remove one cause of delay that sometimes arose in UDRP proceedings where a registrar was uncooperative or just slow. For example, in a UDRP complaint I once filed, the panel reprimanded the registrar for a seven-day delay, writing: "The Panel is disturbed to note that it took so long for the Registrar to respond to [WIPO's verification] request. Any such delay in responding to a verification request simply plays into the hands of cybersquatters, particularly if the cybersquatter is using the domain name(s) concerned for the purposes of pay per click advertising."
- Any domain name masked by a privacy or proxy service must be unmasked (if at all) no later than the expiration of the registrar's two-day response period. This rule change should (hopefully) prevent delays, complications and games attributable to the use of privacy services.
- A respondent is now entitled to an automatic four-day extension, upon request, to the 20-day timeline for filing its response. Previously, such extensions were generally in the discretion of the dispute provider or panel. Of course, this rule change could slightly extend a UDRP proceeding, and the new rules make clear that dispute providers may, as before, grant further extensions "in exceptional cases."
- Parties that want to settle a UDRP dispute prior to a decision must "provide written notice of a request to suspend the proceedings" and file "a standard settlement form" with the dispute provider. The new rules also make clear what obligations are incurred by the dispute provider and the registrar in the event of a settlement.
- Registrars must notify the parties, within three business days of receiving a UDRP decision, of the date on which the decision will be implemented. This change should clarify any ambiguities, especially considering that the UDRP policy itself states, somewhat confusingly, that a domain name transfer, if ordered, shall be implemented after "ten (10) business days (as observed in the location of [the registrar's] principal office)."
Overall, these rule changes are typically for the better, as they should help reduce cyberflight and generally clarify the obligations of everyone involved in a UDRP proceeding. WIPO and the Forum have published a number of new documents consistent with the new rules, including the following:
- The Forum:
As of this writing, CAC has posted a notice about the new rules but no new filing documents, and ADNDRC has not posted any information about the new rules online.