Uniform Rapid Suspension Policy

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ICANN Policy
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Adopted: 2013
Summary: used to address clear-cute trademark abuses, especially
within the new gTLD program
Addresses: cybersquatting, typosquatting
Also addressed by U.S. Legislation: Y
Related to: Cybersquatting, Typosquatting, UDRP,
Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act

The Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) Policy can be used to suspend domain names that are "clear-cut cases of infringement caused by domain name registrations."[1] This approach is often deemed less costly and more time efficient than other proceedings like UDRP or ACPA.[1] However, many popular domains are exempt from URS, including .com, .net, .info, .org, and most ccTLDs as it was designed for ICANN's new gTLD program.[1][2] A valid URS complaint can result in the offending domain being locked within 24 hours.[3]

Eligibility

  • As mentioned above, URS should only be used in cases where infringement is clear. The complainant must be able to show that:[4]
  1. The domain was registered and used in bad faith.
  2. The complainant has the proper rights to the mark under law.
  3. The respondent has no legitimate interest in the domain.
  • The URS applies to any new gTLD and in any ccTLD that voluntarily adopts the URS policy, like .pw for the nation of Palau.[5] .us will also be adopting a URS policy in July 2014.[6] For trademark complaints in other common TLDs (ie .net, .com, .org), rights holders can file a UDRP complaint.
  • Additionally, complaints must be submitted using a mandated format and require certain information. See the URS Procedure PDF and URS Rules PDF for more information.

Service Providers

The current service providers for URS complaints are the National Arbitration Forum and the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre.[7] It is possible that more providers will be appointed in the future.[7]

Proceedings

The URS proceedings should follow this general outline:[4]

  1. Complainant submits a complaint to an approved service provider.
  2. The complaint undergoes initial administrative review, checking for compliance with mandated format rules. This usually takes 2 days.
  3. The service provider contacts the contested domain's registry operator, alerting them to perform a registry lock on the domain within 24 hours.
  4. The registrant, called the respondent, has 14 days to respond to the complaint using the service provider.
  5. The response is then approved by administrative review, not on the same day it is submitted.
  6. An examiner then takes over the case and makes a determination, which can be appealed.
  7. If the domain name is found to be abusive, it will be suspended until the end of its registration. If the complaint is determined to be abusive, then the complainant may be suspended from using the URS system depending on the severity of the abuse.

Abusive Complaints

An examiner may determine that a complaint has been filed in an abusive manner.[4] This may occur if there has been "deliberate material falsehood" on the part of the complainant or if the complaint "was presented solely for improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of doing business."[4] If complainants provided "deliberate material falsehood" in a complaint, they can be suspended from submitting complaints for a year; two complaints with "deliberate material falsehood" will cause complainants to be permanently banned from using the URS system.[4] If complainants file two complaints for an improper purpose, then they will also be suspended from using the URS system for a year.[4]

Points of Consider

  • Filing a URS complaint is not ideal for every trademark infringement situation. While UDRP proceedings may take longer and cost more to arbitrate, they also allow the domain name in question to be transferred or for the registration to be cancelled. URS proceedings, if the complaint is supported, keep the name locked but do not transfer or cancel it.[2]
  • Unlike URDP proceedings, if a complaint is found to be abusive, it can be cause for suspending the complainant for using the URS system.[4]
  • To file a single complaint (which may contain up to 14 domain names that are considered abusive), the cost is $375.[5]
  • One examiner is appointed by the ICANN approved service provider to oversee each complaint.[4] The complainant does not get to select the examiner.[5]

Examples

  • The first URS case was determined in September 2013 by the National Arbitration Forum.[2] Facebook filed the complaint for a domain in the .pw ccTLD, which voluntarily adopted the URS policy.[2]
  • The first URS suspension within the new gTLD space was granted on February 12, 2014.[8] IBM successfully used the URS to suspend ibm.guru and ibm.venture within a week of the initial complaint.[8]
  • As of July 1, 2014, .us will be adopting its own version of a URS policy to better protect rights holders from abusive registrations.[6]

Additional Resources

Related Articles

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 http://www.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/registries/urs Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/facebook-prevails-in-first-uniform-rapid-suspension-system-case-administered-by-national-arbitration-forum-234429801.html PR Newswire
  3. http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/announcements-and-media/infographics/tm-protection Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/urs PDF Download titled URS Procedure (March 1, 2013), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 http://domains.adrforum.com/main.aspx?itemID=1858&hideBar=False&navID=494 National Arbitration Forum (NAF)
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://domainincite.com/16842-uniform-rapid-suspension-comes-to-us by Kevin Murphy (June 12), DomainIncite
  7. 7.0 7.1 http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/announcements-and-media/announcement-2-19apr13-en
  8. 8.0 8.1 http://domainnamewire.com/2014/02/13/ibm-wins-first-new-top-level-domain-urs-case/ by Andrew Allemann (Feb 13, 2014), Domain Name Wire