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ICANN Publishes the URS Rules and an Updated Version of the URS Procedure

Mar.11.2013

Background

The Uniform Rapid Suspension system (URS) is a rights protection mechanism developed by ICANN to be implemented within new gTLDs that facilitates "rapid" suspension of domain names in clear-cut cases of trademark infringement. As ICANN has described the URS, It is intended to complement the existing Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) by offering a faster path to resolution for mark holders at a lower-cost.

For the time being, the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) is the only URS service provider appointed by ICANN. In time, ICANN may establish additional providers.

ICANN's latest communication on the subject

On March 5, 2013, ICANN published a new version of the URS Procedure, a policy document updating the draft version of the policy that was posted in ICANN's June 2012 Applicant Guidebook. ICANN also published a set of Rules for the URS Procedure, similar to the UDRP rules. In addition to these Rules, each URS service provider is expected to produce supplemental rules to help standardize conduct for provider's interactions with complainants and respondents. Such supplemental rules must be in line with and may not contradict the URS procedure or the Rules.

A copy of the new URS Procedure can be found here.

Our view

With this updated version, the URS Procedure document now appears final.

In comparison with ICANN's previous draft, two changes are particularly relevant:

  • a respondent, whether in default or not, will have 14 days from the date the decision (called Determination) is issued in order to file an appeal. In the previous version of the Procedure, a defaulting respondent was still able to seek relief from Default by filing a Response within 6 months of issuance of the initial Determination. This possibility is now excluded.
  • a respondent shall pay a Response Fee if the Complaint lists 15 or more disputed domain names registered by the same registrant, instead of 26 or more according to the previous version of the Procedure.

There are additional changes to the Procedure, though they appear largely cosmetic in nature.

The updated URS procedure no longer contains an explicit reference to the approximate fee for URS proceedings. The fee will need to be determined by the URS service providers. The Memorandum of Understanding between the NAF and ICANN provides that URS services will be provided on a reasonable and cost effective basis. The fee is expected to be between 300 and 500 USD.

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Flip Petillion
Partner – Brussels
Phone: +32.2.214.2886
Email: fpetillion@crowell.com
John L. Murino
Counsel – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2663
Email: jmurino@crowell.com