ICANN approves Arab UDRP provider


The Arab Center for Dispute Resolution (ACDR), based in Jordan, has been approved to handle cybersquatting complaints.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) affirmed the ACDR’s bid to manage Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) disputes on May 18, ending the arbitrator’s three-year wait.

According to the ICANN board’s published decision, “the approval of the first UDRP provider located in the Middle East enhances ICANN’s accountability to the Internet community as a whole, enhancing choice for UDRP complainants”.

ICANN has not asked the ACDR to sign a contract, but said “contracts have never been required of UDRP providers”.

There are now five UDRP providers, the two most prominent being the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the National Arbitration Forum, neither of which operates under a contract with ICANN.

The ACDR, a joint venture between two Arabic IP institutes, first applied to operate the UDRP in 2010, but submitted a revised proposal earlier this year. It will charge $1,500 – the same price as WIPO – to resolve a complaint. At least 33 panellists have been signed up by the ACDR so far.

IP owners, led by the Intellectual Property Constituency, an ICANN constituency group, supported the ACDR’s latest bid apart from in one area. The IPC asked the ACDR to tweak its rules covering the submission of documents, which the ACDR has agreed to.

The decision is good news for brand owners in the Middle East, said Kristina Rosette, of counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, especially as there are Arabic generic top-level domain applicants planning to run domain name registries in the region.

But she said it was hard to say whether Middle Eastern brand owners will start using the ACDR just because it is based in the region: “I don’t think anyone knows.”

With another UDRP provider, increasing competition could help to drive down prices for trademark owners, but while “there is an opportunity for that”, said Rosette, “no brand owner is willing to go somewhere just because of a lower filing fee”.

This article was first published on 22 May 2013 in World IP Review


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