December 12, 2009

UDRP "expedited decision"

The Czech Arbitration Court, an ICANN-approved dispute resolution provider, proposes UDRP complainants to get an "Expedited Decision" (see the call for comments for more), heavily criticized.
The CAC proposes a substantially lower filing fee if a complaint is short (2,000 words max), no response is filed and the case is decided by a single panelist. The arbiter would (of course) decide using the same standard of assessment as in normal UDRP proceedings. The panel's decision will be shorter, with only the principal arguments. The panel will have a discretion to request the normal filing fee whenever it is fair and reasonable.

I am working with the CAC. Here are the short comments I submitted, following my Center's invitation.

UDRP was designed to fight against manifest abusive registrations (and only against them). The proposal to have an expedited decision (lower fees / shorter complaint / shorter reasoning) is thus coherent with the UDRP rationale.
Nevertheless, the system entirely relies on the Panelist's decision to accept or not an expedited procedure. This makes the whole system too subjective, and decisions may differ from a Panelist to another.
In my opinion, there should be objective safeguards to allow a complainant to apply for an expedited treatment of its case. Such safeguards could be:
- the respondent has already been sanctioned for cybersquatting two times or more, and
- the complainant's trademark has been deemed "well known" in at least two countries in the recent years.
I believe that the creation of a prior "filter" may contribute to make the system more fair.

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