The Future of Domain Name Dispute Policies: The Journey Begins

By Doug Isenberg
Doug Isenberg

A just-launched ICANN "working group" (of which I am a member) will — eventually — help to determine the future of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the 17-year-old domain name arbitration system that has been embraced by trademark owners and criticized by some domainers; as well as the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), the new (and limited) arbitration process that applies to the new gTLDs.

The Policy Development Process Working Group has been chartered by ICANN's Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council to review the rights-protection mechanisms (RPMs) that have been developed for all generic top-level domain names (gTLDs). Despite the numerous acronyms necessary to describe the group, the charter is relatively straightforward and includes two phases:

The list of potential questions the group will address include important issues, such as:

And these are just a few of the nearly 100 "potential issues for consideration" listed in the group's charter.

Given its large (and, in many cases, surely controversial) agenda — and, in any event, like all ICANN activities — this RPM working group likely will take a long time before issuing its reports; one of the group's anticipated three co-chairs suggested during the first phone call that it would probably be "late 2017" before Phase One is complete — and even that timing could be optimistic. Plus, any resulting recommendations ultimately must be approved by the ICANN board, as set forth in the GNSO Policy Development Process (PDP) .

As a result, although it's impossible to know what the RPM working group will decide on any of the topics on its plate, it's safe to say that no changes to the UDRP or the URS are imminent.

By Doug Isenberg, Attorney & Founder of The GigaLaw Firm. Learn more by visiting The GigaLaw Firm website. Doug Isenberg also maintains a blog here.

Related topics: Domain Names, ICANN, Law, New TLDs, UDRP