Seven panelists hear nearly half of all NAF UDRP cases.
Zak Muscovitch has updated his National Arbitration Forum (NAF) panelist study originally released in 2010.
The results published on DNAttorney.com have basically the same conclusion as his original report: the National Arbitration Forum hands most of its caseload to a select group of panelists.
Just seven American panelists heard nearly half of all of NAF’s caseload from March 5, 2010 – July 4, 2012.
It’s worth pointing out that these results are in stark contrast to panelist distribution at World Intellectual Property Organization, NAF’s main competitor in the UDRP business. When the original report came out in 2010 I took a look at WIPO’s numbers. The difference was shocking.
At that point, even the most active WIPO panelist wouldn’t fall into the top 10 at National Arbitration Forum. Additionally, the five most active panelists at WIPO were in the bottom quartile when it came to finding in favor of the complainant and transferring or canceling a domain.
In 2010 I aksed David Roache-Turner, Head – Domain Name Dispute Resolution Section at WIPO, about these findings. He responded:
As you would be aware, none of the most frequently appointed WIPO panelists even remotely approach the remarkable NAF appointment shares now receiving attention. In apparently sharp contrast to the situation elsewhere, of the most frequently appointed WIPO panelists, the transfer rate is, as you would also know, well within the overall average for all UDRP panelists.
In 2010 National Arbitration Forum explained to ICANN how it ends up favoring a select few panelists. It was responding to questions regarding the proposed Uniform Rapid Suspension scheme:
Some practical considerations the Forum asks ICANN to contemplate before promulgating specific rotational rules are that some panelists are simply far more available than others. There are some panelists who refuse most cases, some who have conflicts, and others who take more time than the Policy and Rules have allotted to accept the case. So, while the Forum endeavors to appoint panelists in as fair a rotation as possible, there are varying considerations that should be taken into account.
You might take those claims at face value if you didn’t have WIPO to compare.