NAF publishes URS fees

23-04-2013

The National Arbitration Forum (NAF) is planning to cap Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) fees at $500, according to a draft document.

Trademark owners will pay a minimum of $375 – to complain about one to 15 domains – while the maximum charge of $500 will cover 101 domains or more.

The NAF, based in the US, is one of two providers of the URS, a new system for protecting rights under the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) programme that is designed to quickly address clear-cut cybersquatting cases.

According to the NAF, fees for responding to URS complaints will range from $400 to $500. It will charge between $300 and $1300 to hear appeals (from either party), depending on the number of panellists used and the availability of new evidence.

A successful URS complaint leads to the suspension of the disputed domain name until its registration period expires. This is a different remedy to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), under which cybersquatted domains can be transferred to the complainant.

UDRP cases costs $1,300 at the NAF and $1,500 at the World Intellectual Property Organization, meaning rights owners can save up to $1,125 by using the URS instead of the UDRP.

Stéphane Van Gelder, chairman of Stéphane Van Gelder Consulting said because the URS doesn’t have the same remedy as the UDRP, the latter is still a “very important rights-protection mechanism that rights owner wants to see”, adding that initiating legal proceedings is also a serious option.

There were concerns last year that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) would struggle to find anyone to arbitrate URS cases at a targeted $500 price.

According to Van Gelder, the published fee schedule brings “good news for all the people who said the URS couldn’t be done for $500 and for the gTLD programme, as it was a pre-requisite to get the RPMs in place”.

He added: “It’s good news for trademark owners and Internet users.”

Eric Rutt, associate at law firm Wolf Greenfield in Massachusetts, said: “The URS is a good idea. It appears narrowly tailored and has a sufficient degree of protection (with the appeals process) that can provide relief for trademark owners in egregious cybersquatting cases.”

The other publicly-revealed URS provider is the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre, which has not published its fee schedule yet but is expected to follow the NAF.  

The NAF’s fees are part of its draft URS rules, which it expects ICANN to approve by July 1.

national arbitration forum, uniform rapid suspension system, new gTLDs, ICANN

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