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Consultation Responses

Dispute Resolution Service

2 March 2001

Ed Brown
Go Britain Ltd.

Proposed Dispute Resolution Process

Having taken time to study the documents I feel it will satisfy the needs of Nominet but is ineffective from a users point of view. The reasons for this are as follows:

The definitions of grounds for dispute are too vague and mirror those that previously exist.

Specifically bad faith should include:

  • The registering of a domain name without actively using that domain name.
  • Demonstrating that this has happened in the past when the company no longer trades.

The proposed procedure does not address cases where the domain was registered in bad faith but is now in the hands of a liquidator. Nominet appears to duck the issue by saying since it is in the hands of the liquidator there is nothing they can do. This is not the case - the rules could, and should be applied.

Firstly, I feel Nominet needs to be clearer in its definitions. If a company no longer exists or is in liquidation then it should be part of the procedure that there is a time limit on ensuring the domain is made active.

Secondly there should be a mechanism whereby when a domain is challenged in this way the domain can be "reserved" for when it comes free. In a previous Domain Name dispute we spent a lot of money on legal fees and then had to do it all again when it re-entered the market and we had to start with another company.

Thirdly, timescales are much improved and this should be commended, in our case the liquidator failed to respond so it dragged on for nearly six months. However, you state that you will first try to resolve the matter by arbitration in 10 days. Ten days is a good timeframe but the actual timeframe is closer to 45 days given the time for delays, feedback, etc. I'd suggest that the ten days start from the time of the details being sent to the respondent. This would reduce the overall timeframe to less than a month which would be much better.

Next, while I can appreciate that Nominet wants to limit its liability there should be no need for Nominet to include a clause saying that they can't be challenged for their decision. If the procedure is handled correctly and according to the rules then this is not required. A clause like this shows a lack of faith in your own procedures.

Finally, the fees for expert witness and appeal are high but acceptable as long as those fees are reclaimable from Nominet if it is shown that the incorrect decision was reached in the first instance. This would ensure that Nominet implements decision in a fair and even manner. There will always be cases where further evidence comes about that changes the decision but given the same facts the same decision should be reached and Nominet should have no problem in refunding the fees if they are shown to have made the wrong decision.