New option for obvious cases of cybersquatting proves successful
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The option to apply for a summary decision under the new Dispute Resolution Service Procedure in cases where no response is received seems to have been a success.
Nominet, the registry responsible for the '.uk' domain name space, introduced a number of modifications to the Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) on July 29 2008 (for further details please see "Nominet Dispute Resolution Service Policy and Procedure amended").
Paragraph 7(b) of the new Dispute Resolution Service Policy adds a shortened process for those cases where no response is received. Under Paragraph 5(e) of the new procedure, a complainant now has the option of applying for a summary decision, in which case the expert will not supply a fully reasoned decision, but will rather certify that the basic elements of the DRS (ie, rights and abusive registration) have been made out by the complainant in accordance with Paragraph 7(c) of the policy. One of the first summary decisions was Southgate Beds Limited v Vic Smith Beds Ltd (Case DRS 6003), which concerned the domain name 'southgatebeds.co.uk'.
As of mid-February 2009, 74 such decisions had been issued - as opposed to 15 fully reasoned decisions - since the new procedure was introduced in July 2008. In at least 80% of the cases filed, complainants have opted for a summary decision instead of a fully reasoned decision. This illustrates the success of the new option for obvious cases of cybersquatting where the respondent has failed to reply.
In spite of the benefits offered by a summary decision (Nominet fees are £200 for such decisions, as opposed to £750 for fully reasoned decisions), caution is advised before taking this option. Complainants opting for a summary decision must ensure that they have carefully argued their case and should seek legal advice before filing a complaint under the policy. A summary decision does not guarantee that the relief sought will be granted automatically. In at least 10% of the summary decisions issued so far, the expert was not satisfied that the complainant had established the basic elements of the DRS and the remedy requested was thus denied.
David Taylor, Lovells LLP, Paris
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