No contract exists with UDRP providers.
With two UDRP arbitration providers trying to change up the rules, attorney Jim Davies tried to get his hands on the contract between ICANN and its approved UDRP providers. He hit a stumbling block: there is none.
You can see the details of his request for the contract in his public comments (submitted as an individual, not on behalf of his firm or clients) on ICANN’s web site. But it’s worth reprinting them here.
I was very surprised to learn that there is no contract between ICANN
and the accredited UDRP providers. Given the importance of the UDRP to
all domain registrants, who are contractually bound to accept its terms
when they register a domain, there really must be a contract put in
place with the accredited providers as a matter of the utmost urgency.
Without it, it is not clear what control (if any) ICANN can apply on the
accredited providers to ensure that (as a minimum) they comply with the
UDRP Policy and Rules.
Whilst ICANN goes through due process in preparing a draft contract and
reaching consensus within the community on its content, it should make
clear to the providers that there can be no further amendment to their
Supplemental Rules. I would also suggest that any contract needs to
provide for a review of the providers’ existing Supplementary Rules; and
also an independent audit of the processes already followed by providers
when handling UDRP cases.
I think that if ICANN follows any other path, it will be badly failing
the millions of registrants who are bound to the UDRP as part of their
registration agreement. The UDRP is an important process that impacts
on many parties, with over 30,000 decided cases already. To maintain
the UDRP’s legitimacy, the relationship with the accredited providers
must be put on a proper contractual footing and it must be brought under
the control of ICANN.