The Arab Center for Dispute Resolution (ACDR) is up and running, becoming the fifth provider of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) services.
ICANN approved the Center to handle cybersquatting disputes in May last year, three years after it first applied. The ACDR later revised its proposal in light of public comments.
The Center, a joint venture between two Arabic IP institutes, had been expected to go live on January 1 this year.
Trademark owners must pay $1,500 to complain about between one and two domains, while three to five domains will cost $1,700. There are further charges for more names.
The World Intellectual Property Organization, the leading UDRP provider, charges $1,500 for a dispute over one to five domains. The remaining providers are the National Arbitration Forum, based in the US, the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre and the Czech Arbitration Court Arbitration Center for Internet Disputes.
After approving the ACDR last year, ICANN’s board said that having the first UDRP operator in the Middle East enhances ICANN’s “accountability to the Internet community as a whole” and choice for UDRP complainants.
With ACDR going live, there is expected to be some price competition, said Stuart Fuller, director of commercial operations at brand protection company NetNames.
“But because, essentially, this is a legal service, it is the quality that is more important and will in the long term decide the success of any operator,” he said. “If the new ACDR handles cases in a swift and complete manner then I can see it becoming a viable ‘rival’ to the existing providers.”
The new generic top-level domain (gTLD) programme is likely to increase online infringement across the world, Fuller continued, so “a more local presence for the Arab world is a good thing”.
He added: “I am not sure whether we will initially see a major take-up of services relating to Arabic names – we only have to look at the launch of the .shabaka domain to see that only one percent of the total new gTLD registrations has gone for an Arabic internationalised domain name. But that number will grow and it will provide a vital local service in the growth of the internet in the Arab world.”
Alongside .shabaka (شبكة), which means “web” in Arabic, ICANN received gTLD applications such as .abudhabi (ابوظبي) and .arab (عرب).
This article was first published on 25 February 2014 in World IP Review
The Arab Center for Dispute Resolution, udrp, icann, domain names, gtlds