First auDRP decision goes to respondent

Australia

In Australian Drivers Rights Association v Australian Dust Removalists Association, a panellist of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators, one of the dispute resolution service providers approved by the Australian domain operator auDA, has refused to order the transfer of the domain name 'adra.com.au'. This is the first decision released under the '.au' Dispute Resolution Policy (auDRP).

The Australian Drivers' Rights Association, a motorist lobby group, had registered 'adra.com.au' in 1998 but registration lapsed in July 2002 because the registrar allegedly failed to act on instructions to renew the name. The Dust Removalists Association, an association for dust removal professionals, subsequently registered the domain name. This lead the drivers association to bring proceedings to obtain the transfer of the domain name.

The drivers association argued (i) that the removers association had registered the domain name to prevent it from using its allegedly well-known website, and (ii) that the removers association had requested A$30,000 for the transfer of the domain name, which was evidence of bad-faith registration.

The removers association responded that:

  • prior to the dispute it had no knowledge of the drivers association and, having checked that the domain name was available, registered it as an obvious acronym (ADRA) for its name;

  • it had prepared and widely distributed literature bearing the acronym to municipal councils and others; and

  • in response to the demand of the drivers association, it had suggested an "off the cuff" figure of A$30,000 as an appropriate amount for the transfer of the name.

Sole panellist John Brydon stated that the registrant's failure to act on the drivers association's renewal instructions was not a relevant consideration under the auDRP, and held that the removers association had a legitimate interest in the domain name and that the registration had not been made in bad faith. He therefore refused to order the transfer.

Des Ryan, Davies Collison Cave Solicitors, Melbourne

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