November 15, 2010

Leaner and Greener: ICANN Announces (Almost) Paperless UDRP Procedures

By Elizabeth K. Brock, Principal

On December 7, 2009, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced a modification to the Implementation Rules for the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). This modification now permits electronic filing. In fact, beginning March 1, 2010, electronic filing will be mandatory.

The UDRP is an administrative dispute resolution policy designed to provide quick and inexpensive resolution to certain kinds of domain name disputes in all generic top-level domains (gTLDs) (i.e., .aero, .asia, .biz, .cat, .com, .coop, .info, .jobs, .mobi, .museum, .name, .net, .org, .pro, .tel, and .travel). Under the modified rules, the parties to a UDRP proceeding will submit all filings (both the complaint and the response) via email. The UDRP provider must then notify the respondent of the complaint by mailing written notice of the complaint and an explanatory cover sheet to the respondent. The UDRP provider is no longer required to forward a hard copy of the entire complaint.

UDRP providers may begin accepting electronic filings immediately, and February 28, 2010, will be the last day any provider may accept hard-copy filings. Beginning March 1, 2010, all filings must be electronic. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), one of four UDRP providers, estimates electronic filing will save up to one million pages of paper each year and reduce the time and costs associated with hard-copy filings.

In addition to WIPO, current UDRP providers are the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Center, the National Arbitration Forum and the Czech Arbitration Court. Practitioners should check with each provider for supplemental rules and early acceptance of electronic filing. Further information, including a copy of the modified Implementation Rules, is available at www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-07dec09-en.htm.

Reprinted with permission from INTA Bulletin, Vol. 65, No. 2 – February 1, 2010, Copyright © 2010 the International Trademark Association.