Last nights news that a International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) panelist ruled (pdf) that .cam and .com are too confusingly similar to coexist after two different panels ruled days earlier that the strings were not similar confusing, shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone in the domain space.
After all anyone that follows UDRP’s on a regular basis knows there is little consistency between “close” UDRP cases, those not involving slam dunks like a parked domains like Faceboook.com
We have seen time and time against arbitration panels rule inconsistently in UDRP’s.
How many of us think that if 5 different panels looked at the vanity.com domain name fro example all five would have ruled the same way.
As usual ICANN could have avoided this whole problem had they required in the case of an objector who objects to multiple applications for the same new gTLD ,on the basis of string confusion that all those objection be joined together and decided by one three member panel.
A string is confusingly similar or its not.
The objector in this case Verisign laid out the same argument, provided the reports of the same experts, studies and other “evidence” before the panels.
There was no need for separate panels to hear the same case time and time again and allowing for separate panels to decide the same issue .
These cases filed by Verisign, should have been joined by rule into one case, thereby saving time, saving money, and ICANN saving face, as now the inconsistent panel ruling that have plagued domain owners and trademark holders for years under the UDRP come back to haunt ICANN itself.
Yes, they should have required consolidation of similar objections.
That was clearly necessary, but still insufficient.
The other half would have been to establish guiding principles in advance rather than let “experts” decide which factors should be decisive.