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Information Concerning Approval Process for Dispute-Resolution Service Providers

On 26 August 1999, ICANN's Board adopted a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy for all registrars serving top-level domains. The policy began ramp-up implementation on 1 December 1999 and became fully operational on 3 January 2000. The UDRP is in effect for registrars in all gTLDS: .aero, biz, .com, .coop, .info, .museum, .name, .net, .org, and .pro.

Although the policy provides that most domain-name disputes will be resolved by the courts, it also calls for administrative dispute-resolution proceedings to enable streamlined, economical resolution of disputes arising from alleged "abusive registrations." Under the policy, each administrative proceeding will be administered by a dispute-resolution service provider approved by ICANN.

The Board's Resolution 99.84 provided that in the near term ICANN staff would provisionally approve service providers, until a more formal accreditation program for dispute-resolution service providers could be developed. The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) is currently undertaking a review of the UDRP, and will include the approval process for dispute-resolution providers as part of this review.

Organizations seeking provisional approval as service providers under the dispute resolution policy should take the following steps:

  1. Become familiar with the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and the Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.
  2. Submit an application by email to (icann@icann.org) and by postal mail:

    Dispute Resolution Service Provider Applications
    Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
    4676 Admiralty Way, Suite 330
    Marina del Rey, CA 90292-6601 USA

Applications should contain:

a. An overview of the applicant's capabilities and background in providing alternative dispute-resolution (ADR) services, including a description of the applicant's track record of handling the clerical aspects of expedited ADR proceedings.

b. A list of the names and qualifications of the panelists the applicant proposes to include on its published list and a description of the screening requirements applicant has used in selecting panelists to be included on its list.

c. A description of training and educational measures the applicant proposes to employ for listed panelists with respect to domain-name disputes, the UDRP Policy, and the UDRP Rules.

d. A commitment by the applicant not to prevent or discourage any of its listed panelists from serving as panelists for domain-name disputes administered by other approved providers.

e. A copy of the applicant's proposed supplemental rules (including fee schedule).

f. Documentation of applicant's proposed internal operating procedures. If requested, ICANN will hold this documentation in confidence.

g. A proposed schedule for applicant's implementation of its program for administering proceedings under the policy, including a statement of applicant's administrative capacity in terms of number of proceedings initiated on a monthly basis.

h. A statement of any requested limitations on the number of proceedings that applicant handles, either during a start-up period or on a permanent basis.

i. A description of how the applicant proposes to administer proceedings, including its interactions with parties, registrars, ICANN, and other approved providers.

j. Description of how the applicant intends to publish decisions of panels in proceedings it administers and a commitment to provide ICANN with copies of all portions of decisions of panels not published.

In general, ICANN examines the applications to determine whether the applicant has demonstrated its ability to handle proceedings in an expedited, global, online context in an orderly and fair manner. Attributes that are especially important include:

A. Applicant should have a track record in competently handling the clerical aspects of ADR proceedings. ICANN considers proper review of pleadings for administrative compliance and reliable and well-documented distribution of documents to the parties and panels to be essential capabilities for providers. In the absence of a well-established track record in handling the clerical function, a detailed plan for providing those abilities ordinarily must be submitted.

B. Applicant should propose a list of highly qualified neutrals who have agreed to serve as panelists. Applicant's list should include at least twenty persons. Applicants are expected thoroughly to train the listed neutrals concerning the policy, the uniform rules, the technology of domain names, and the basic legal principles applicable to domain-name disputes. Accordingly, excessively long lists of neutrals are discouraged. The applicant should either present a list of panelists from multiple countries or, if the applicant initially presents a single-country list, propose a plan to expand its list to become multinational.

C. Applicant's supplemental rules and internal procedures should demonstrate that applicant understands the workings of the policy and uniform rules.

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