MARQUES warns of severe consequences of UDRP review “based upon bias”
MARQUES has written to ICANN calling for a data-led review of the UDRP when the planned process kicks off, stating that “there should be no changes to the UDRP unless such changes are based upon fact”.
The ICANN Rights Protection Mechanism (RPM) Working Group is due to undertake a review of the UDRP once its work reviewing new gTLD RPMs is completed – with the charter for the review stating that the group is “tasked to provide new policy recommendations regarding the UDRP”. In a letter from Nick Wood, vice chair of the MARQUES cyberspace team, the association has contended that no changes should be made unless they are “based on fact”, pointing to the risk that procedural changes could be made based on bias, anecdotes and edge cases, rather than evidence. “The danger of a ‘ripple effect’, causing unintended substantive consequences, is severe. The UDRP is too important to risk harming it by an ill-informed review process.”
To lead a fact-based review, MARQUES has asked ICANN to gather a standardised set of data on the UDRP (including definitive information on the number of cases, domains, defaults, settlements and panel decisions, the typical costs for a registrant or brand owner and registrar non-compliance with ICANN contractual rules).
It has also called on the organisation to convene a small group of experts – with WIPO as a possible chair – to gather evidence and information from interested parties, including ICANN’s contracted parties and organisations representing both trademark owner and registrant interests.