In this post, the Internet Commerce Association provides an update on a plan to give IGOs special privileges related to domain names.
Should domain name registrants’ fundamental right, the right to go to court to overrule a UDRP decision transferring their domain name, be taken away? That was one of the primary questions that an ICANN Working Group was mandated to answer. The confusingly named ICANN IGO-INGO Access to Curative Rights Protection Mechanisms (the “Working Group”) has been examining and reviewing this issue since 2013 and just issued its Final Report.
ICANN had been considering creating a new dispute resolution system, just for Intergovernmental Organizations (IGO’s) such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and the World Customs Organization, and also for International Non-governmental Organizations (INGO’s), such as Good Neighbours International (GNI), CARE, and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWFN). These organizations and many others who use acronyms and common words in their names, would be interested in any new system that would allow them to take away corresponding domain names from registrants. Some IGOs believed that they should have first right to domains that matched their acronym, even in .com, such as to the domain WHO.com.
The Working Group was presented with, as one option, a new dispute resolution system that would be “final”, without recourse by a registrant to go to court to overturn an unfair decision. Although such a proposal has been previously raised and rejected, the Government Advisory Committee (GAC), pushed hard for it to be reconsidered. IGOs in particular argued that they currently enjoy immunity from going to court for most kinds of disputes, and wanted that immunity extended to domain name disputes. Their rationale was that as intergovernmental organizations, their immunity from being subjected to courts of any particular nation was imperative, and the UDRP as currently enacted requires all complainants to submit to a court’s jurisdiction for any dispute challenging a UDRP transfer order. Accordingly, IGOs claimed that they could not effectively use the UDRP as it would require them to waive their immunity. Click here to continue reading…