ICANN session on trademark protection suggests URS is close to being finalized.
Of all of the trademark protections being discussed for the launch of new top level domain names, it looks like Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) may be the closest to being approved. Uniform Rapid Suspension is a sort of “light UDRP” for domain names deemed to be clear cut cases of cybersquatting.
During the first day of sessions at ICANN’s Nairobi meeting, ICANN Chairman of the Board Peter Tengate-Thrush commented that the URS proposal may be close to approval:
I just wanted to warn the community that there’s a real danger of this mechanism actually having been agreed and the board voting on it and us moving on.
The silence that was the response to Mary’s outline and the fact that Robin can only find one quibble, which she then provided the answer to, suggests that we really are getting close on this one. And I think the evidence of compromise that’s all over there is another great sign.
So just a warning. We may actually be ready to move on this one.
In other words, speak now or forever hold your peace.
Although there wasn’t much debate at the ICANN meeting on URS, there’s still an open comment period on the topic.
As it stands, URS has been greatly watered down from the original proposal. A complainant doesn’t get rights to a domain name won through URS, it merely gets suspended. Which means that, once it expires, someone else will register it. (There was some discussion during the session of giving priority rights to the complainant upon expiration of the domain name. If this is added, it would basically make URS into a cheap UDRP with delayed gratification.)
Also during the discussion on URS, the issue of UDRP providers offering their own similar forms of URS came up. Czech Arbitration Court is offering a watered down version of UDRP starting March 15 (something ICANN still hasn’t commented on). WIPO also has plans, but they seem to still be in the exploration phase.
A person identified as “Brian from WIPO” in the ICANN session transcript stated:
It’s true we have been exploring ways to further expedite and make more cost-efficient the UDRP within the existing framework based on the ability to address issues such as word limits and fees in the supplemental rules. And we very much think it’s an open question, and I agree you with there that there are questions regarding the scope of interoperability between any URS and any efficiency gains that can be made within the UDRP process.