Time to re-visit the 2-year time bar in a .CN complaint?

by Hogan Lovells
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Unlike the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), the CNNIC ccTLD Dispute Resolution Policy (CNDRP)  – the dispute resolution policy governing the .CN domain in China – sets a time bar which stipulates that no complaints concerning a .CN (or “.中国”) registration over 2 years old will be accepted.  This time bar has in the past been criticised for imposing “unreasonable time limits” that would prevent the fair and equitable enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The history of this 2-year time bar can be traced back to the year 2000 when CNNIC developed its very first set of domain name dispute resolution rules.  It has been widely perceived as an absolute time bar which immunises all .CN registrations of more than two years old against domain name complaints under the CNDRP.  In such situations, the complainant would often have to resort to litigation or negotiations in order to recover the domain name.

We discussed this 2-year time bar in previous post where the sole panellist considered that the transfer of a .CN domain name can amount to a new registration, thus re-setting the 2-year time bar.

Question: why would it now be a good time to re-visit this 2-year time bar?

This is because, since 15 March 2017, the new General Civil Law Rules of People’s Republic of China has extended the general limitation period for civil actions from 2 years to 3 years.  The General Civil Law Rules is an important set of rules in China which sets out the overall framework of a future civil code which is expected to be in place around 2020.

When CNNIC first developed its domain name dispute resolution rules back in 2000, one of the rationales for adopting the 2-year time bar was to align with the 2-year limitation period for civil actions in China (which applied to, for instance, trade mark infringement civil cases).  Now with the introduction of a general 3-year time bar under the General Civil Law Rules of People’s Republic of China, should the .CN time bar be similarly extended?

Our question is purely speculative as we are not aware of any announcements or plans from CNNIC to re-visit this issue in the near future.  On the other hand, brand owners would probably still prefer a complete removal of this time-bar for .CN domain name complaints.  Getting one more year on the clock to file a complaint to recover a .CN domain name is, however, probably a welcome middle ground.


First published on Anchovy News: Anchovy® is our comprehensive and centralised online brand protection service for global domain name strategy, including new gTLDs together with portfolio management and global enforcement using a unique and exclusive online platform developed in-house.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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