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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Nominet DRS changes go live today

Today's the day that Nominet's new Policy and Procedure for .uk domain name dispute resolution service (DRS) comes into operation. You can read the revised Policy and Procedure documents here, together with a summary of the principal changes. Complaints filed before today's date will be processed in accordance with the previous Policy and Procedure.

Right: strenuous efforts have been made to keep the Nominet Experts in tune with key developments...

If you want to know more, but either can't understand the information on the Nominet website or can't be bothered to read it, you can make human contact the Nominet Dispute Resolution Service team by phoning +44 (0)1865 332211 or by aiming your email here.

Says the IPKat, even a Kat should be able to comprehend the changes, which are handily listed below as 11 key points. In essence, according to the summary:

1. The process remains the same as it was except that, where the person complained against does not respond, the complainant has the option of obtaining a summary decision from an Expert, at a cost of £200 plus VAT [says Merpel: that's quite cheap for an Expert with a capital "E"; you can usually only get an expert with a small "e" for that sort of price]. For that price the expert won't write a full decision, but he will certify that the complainant has proved won his case.

2. If there is a response, the case goes into mediation it'll cost £750 plus VAT, as at present, for a full decision.

3. It is now conceded that rights may exist in descriptive terms that have acquired a secondary meaning [this is good news not just for trade mark owners but for marketing managers who are hopelessly addicted to the use of descriptive terms for their branding].

4. "... certain activities are not in themselves an Abusive Registration, but ... cases of this kind will depend on their particular facts" [er, ...].

5. The Reply stage is affirmed to be no more than an opportunity to respond to new matters raised in the alleged villain's response.

6. is probably important, but too boring to list here.

7. The complainee can pay for an Expert decision if the Complainant declines to pay, in order to request a finding of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking.

8. A "likelihood of confusion" factor has now been introduced [once again bringing the criteria of the DRS system a little closer to those of trade mark law], and it is emphasised that the threatened use of a domain name may be evidence of an Abusive Registration, reflecting both previous Expert decisions and English law.

9. Thre's now an Expert Review Group, drawn from Nominet’s existing panel of independent experts who provide decisions where the parties do not resolve their differences amicably. Members of this group will only (i) provide a peer review function of decisions before they are published and (ii) form the panels for appeal hearings.

10. The word limit for submissions in the complaint and response rises to 5,000 words [Merpel wonders: is that long words or short words? Do hyphenated words count as one or two? And, if submissions exceed that length, do panellists stop reading at 5,000 words or can they choose the 5,000 words they want to read?].

11. Evidence can now be attached electronically [To the parties? Or, disappointingly, only to their emails?]. The online forms have also been revised, to enhance their functionality and their aesthetic appeal.

Says the IPKat, the new Policy and Procedure suggest that Nominet is edging forward, with one eye on past experiences, another eye on future needs and an ear to the needs of the complainants. He wonders what those of his readers who use the DRS system regularly will say, though.

1 comment:

Chris Hemingway said...

On the whole this looks like good news. Typically the main obstacle to the small business owner was the costs of ousting a cybersquatter, even if the offender was clearly 'in the wrong'. The more modest £200 is more affordable and I hope that the resulting summary decision is enough to deal with such cases.

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