Phil Corwin of the Internet Commerce Association, (the “ICA”) sounded the alarm yesterday on a sleepy Mothers Day that trademark interests led by Elisa Cooper, Director of Product Marketing at MarkMonitor, are pushing for ICANN to add the URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension) to the propose .Net VeriSign contract currently opened for public comment. Ms. Cooper was the primary drafter of a proposed position statement by ICANN’s Business Constituency that advocates this move.
I have for years been telling you even if you have no interest in the new gTLD’s you had to pay close attention to the process as whatever rules come out of that process will be attempted to be applied to all existing TLD’s including .com, .net and .org.
This is especially troubling because as you know the new gTLD process has not even been approved yet since the .Net contract is up for renewal, trademark groups are going to push for this new system to take away domains, be imposed on .net
And guess what is up for renewal next year?
Right the .Com contract with VeriSign.
If This proposal to apply the URS to .Net’s gets adopted then its almost a guarantee that it will be included in the .Com contract next year.
The URS has a shortened time frame for domain owners to respond, so short that if you go on vacation your likely to miss the time, and parts of the proposal under consideration include one where a domain owner who loses a fixed number of URS in a certain time frame may be barred from even filing a defense to future URS filings.
The URS also limits the length of the response, and doesn’t allow for a three member panels.
We have all seen horrible one person UDRP decisions and with no option of getting a three member panel and a limited response, this should scare the crap out of any domain holder.
The maybe is in the above sentence because the final rules haven’t even been set for this new program as they are still under debate in the new gTLD program.
Originally the URS was a meant to suspend a domain, meaning the trademark holder wouldn’t wind up with the domain, its functionality would just seize.
But more recently in the new gTLD process trademark groups have been pushing to actually get the domain name through this process and make the URS a loser pays model, so not only would the domain holder lose the domain, but it would have to pay the costs.
Since the debate at the new gTLD process is still ongoing we don’t know which way the rules will be set.
Moreover Mark Monitor wants the Global Trademark Database which is part of the new gTLD process to apply to .Net’s as well.
The problem with that is the WIPO database which is already up and operating, in anticipation of the passage of the final gTLD rules, contains over 630,000 entries, including most dictionary words, two and three letter combo’s and all sorts of generic terms. Hell even the letter ‘F” is in the database
If trademark owners can get a domain name like they can with a UDRP but in a though a process which costs 1/10th of the price of a UDRP, and which is a much quicker process, then most trademark holders will go to the URS and not even bother with UDRP.
As Phil Corwin told me:
“This is absolutely outrageous.”
“URS is a totally untested, $300, 500-word procedure by which a domain can be suspended. ”
“We don’t even know its final form yet but it could get worse than what is in the Applicant Guidebook now, and could give the complainant first option to acquire a suspended domain, which would make it a functional equivalent to the UDRP. ”
“.Net is the third largest registry in existence (after .com and .de) and registrants have invested massive sums in aggregating portfolios and developing websites based on the understanding that they could only lose their domains in a UDRP.”
“Another danger is that if URS gets imposed on .net and .Com via contract renewal then trademark interests may have no incentive to engage in the UDRP reform process that ICANN is teeing up.”
“We have no idea yet who the URS providers will be or how it will be used (or abused) in real world practice.”
The comment period for the .Net renewal ends tomorrow Tuesday, May 10
You can comment on the proposal by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once you send your comment you will get an email back which you must confirm by clicking on a link otherwise the comment will not be posted.
You can view current comments here.
I will be filing a comment and I urge all domain holders to file a comment and object to the URS from being placed into the .Net contract.
Once again the ICA has shown they are the only group watching out for domainers and they deserve your support.