Netflix case sets precedent for new domain name arbitration procedure

Indonesia

A dispute over the domain name ‘netflix.id’, decided in May this year, has set a clear precedent for Indonesia's new domain name arbitration procedure.

Indonesian domain name registrar PANDI recently established an arbitration system for Indonesian country-level top-level domains. The system known under the acronym PPND PANDI is established under Government Regulation 82/2012 on Electronic Systems and Transactions. It broadly follows the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, so offers a cost-effective and efficient alternative to going to court, which was previously the only option.

The system operates because registrants have signed up to PANDI's terms. The procedure is that the complainant files a complaint to PPND PANDI based on one of three available grounds:

1. based on a registered trademark;

2. based on a registered business name; or

3. if the domain name is contrary to public order (which means bad faith).

The timeframe under the rules is two months, but it may take longer since there are some steps during the process with no clear timeframe in the regulations - such as the time limit for the PANDI to form the panel once the objection and the response have been submitted by both parties.

Arbitrators are appointed to hear cases from a current panel of 10. There may be a single arbitrator or a panel of three arbitrators depending on the procedure followed in the case. The arbitrators are IP practitioners, lecturers/academics and officers from the Ministry of Communication and Informatics.

The ‘netflix.co.id’ domain name had been registered by a local registrant. The arbitrator decided in favour of the US trademark owner, Netflix Inc, on the basis of its prior trademark registration, and ordered the domain name to be transferred to Netflix.

Since then, a further case involving the domain name ‘bmw.id’ has also been decided. Before this new arbitration system was implemented, court was the only option and, therefore, few domain name disputes had been heard. Now, brand owners can feel secure that a solid arbitration system is working.

Nick Redfearn, Rouse, Indonesia

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