New domain name dispute resolution policies for .AC, .IO and .SH

Hogan Lovells
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Hogan Lovells

The Internet Computer Bureau (ICB), the Registry operating the country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) for .AC (Ascension Island), .IO (British Indian Ocean Territory) and .SH (Saint Helena), has recently introduced new domain name dispute resolution policies, to be administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

WIPO is the leading domain name dispute resolution service provider, offering domain name dispute resolution policies that allow for the enforcement of protected rights without the need for time-consuming and costly court litigation. WIPO created the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) some 20 years ago, which is applicable across all generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), including new gTLDs. The UDRP has since come to serve as the model for alternative domain name dispute resolution, as is reflected in the number of ccTLDs that have adopted the UDRP, or a variation thereof. Forty ccTLDs, including .CO (Colombia), .ME (Montenegro) and .RO (Romania) have adopted the UDRP in its entirety, while an additional 37 ccTLDs have adopted a policy variation administered before WIPO, including .BR (Brazil), .ES (Spain) and .EU (European Union). The full list of ccTLDs which have adopted the UDRP or a variation is available here.

Until recently, disputes concerning .AC, .IO and .SH domain names were administered under the WIPO Expedited Arbitration Rules (as adapted for ccTLD Dispute Resolution). Awards under the WIPO Expedited Arbitration Rules were not published, and the procedures allowed only for the cancellation of disputed domain names – a less satisfactory remedy than transfer as provided for under the UDRP.

From 1 June 2020, disputes concerning .AC, .IO and .SH domain names are administered under UDRP variants, which closely resemble the UDRP. Under the new policies, it is sufficient for the complainant to provide that either registration or use of the disputed domain name is in bad faith (whereas the UDRP requires the complainant to prove both). All disputes are to be conducted in English, with the Courts of England as the applicable Mutual Jurisdiction. The new policies also provide for the transfer of disputed domain names to successful complainants. Decisions under the applicable policies are published on WIPO's website.

Further information about the new dispute resolution policies applicable to .AC, .IO and .SH domain names is available via WIPO's ccTLD portal here.

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