Registrars' Statement Regarding Their Model Uniform Dispute Policy
Posted August 20, 1999
The Model Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy for Voluntary Adoption by Registrars (the "Policy") represents the efforts of the registrars listed below (collectively, the "Registrars") to establish a uniform policy to govern disputes regarding domain name registrations. The Registrars believe that the adoption of a uniform policy will best further the interests of the Internet community, as it will provide certainty regarding the resolution of such disputes and foster competition between registrars based upon the quality and cost of their services, and not on their administration of domain name disputes.
The Policy is the result of collaborative efforts among the Registrars and incorporates suggestions from a variety of additional sources, including various commentators and the World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO").
The goal of the Policy is to remove the Registrars from the process of adjudicating domain name disputes, and relegate resolution of such disputes to courts, arbitration panels, or administrative panels which are better suited to adjudicate these claims. To that end, Registrars will no longer change the status of a disputed domain name registration until the dispute has been resolved.
The Policy incorporates WIPO's proposal regarding the use of a mandatory administrative proceeding in cases where a domain name holder is alleged to have registered and used a domain name in bad faith and in violation of another party's trademark rights. In the past, these so-called "cybersquatters" have tried to convince trademark owners that it would be cheaper and faster to buy the applicable domain name from a cybersquatter rather than engage in costly and protracted litigation. The Registrars believe that an inexpensive and expedited mandatory administrative proceeding should eliminate this cybersquatter strategy, and thereby benefit the Internet community.
Domain name holders alleged to have registered and used a domain name in bad faith must submit to an administrative proceeding before an approved dispute resolution service provider. These providers cannot award monetary damages, but can direct that a domain name be cancelled or transferred. While this process is mandatory if invoked, nothing prevents a domain name holder or a complainant from going to court before the administrative proceeding is commenced, or to seek relief from the judgment of the administrative proceeding after it is concluded.
The Registrars are working to establish an agreed upon set of procedural rules to be applied by the dispute resolution service providers. Those procedural rules are intended to balance the due process interests of the domain name holder with the rights of a complainant to resolve expeditiously disputes where their trademark or service mark may have been registered as a domain name in bad faith.
America Online Incorporated
Animus Communications, Inc.
Domain Bank, Inc.
Network Solutions, Inc.
Nominalia Internet S.L.
Tech Dogs, Inc.