ICANN may have got lucky with a URS vendor

Kevin Murphy, November 25, 2012, 23:07:16 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN may have found a vendor willing to provide Uniform Rapid Suspension services for new gTLDs at $500 or less per case, without having to rewrite the policy to do so.

Last month, Olof Nordling, director of services relations at ICANN, gave the GNSO Council a heads-up that the URS policy may have to be tweaked if ICANN were to hit its fee targets.

But last week, following the receipt of several responses to a URS vendor Request For Information, Nordling seems to have retracted the request.

In a message to Council chair Jonathan Robinson, he wrote:

The deadline for responses to the URS RFI has passed and I’m happy to inform you that we have received several responses which we are now evaluating. Moreover, my first impression is that the situation looks quite promising, both in terms of adherence to the URS text and regarding the target fee. This also means that there is less of an urgency than I previously thought to convene a drafting team (and I’m glad to have been proven wrong in that regard!). There may still be details where such a drafting team can provide useful guidance and I will get back to you with further updates on this and other URS matters as we advance with the evaluations.

The target fee for URS has always been $300 to $500 per case, between a fifth and a third of the fee UDRP providers charge.

Following an initial, private consultation with UDRP providers WIPO and the the National Arbitration Forum, ICANN concluded that that it would miss that target unless the URS was simplified.

But some GNSO members called for a formal, open RFP, in order to figure out just how good a price vendors were willing to offer when they were faced with actual competition.

It seems to have worked.

During a session on URS at the Toronto meeting last month, incumbents WIPO and NAF were joined by a new would-be arbitration forum going by the name of Intersponsive.

Represented by IP lawyers Paul McGrady and Brad Bertoglio, the new company claimed it would be able to hit the price target due to software and process efficiencies.

NAF also said it would be able to hit targets for most URS cases, but pointed out that the poorly-described policy would create complex edge cases that would be more expensive to handle.

WIPO, for its part, said a cheaper URS would only be possible if registrants automatically lost the cases if they failed to respond to complaints.

This angered big domainers represented by the Internet Commerce Association and free speech advocates in the GNSO, who feared a simpler URS meant fewer registrant rights.

It’s not yet known which vendors are in with a shot of winning the URS contract, but if ICANN has found a reasonably priced provider, that would be pretty good news for registrants and IP owners.

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Comments (8)

  1. Steve says:

    If the “new” urs system doesn’t have SEVERE penalties for reverse domain high-jacking parasites the system will just be another scam machine that generic domain owners will have to deal with. Why didn’t they just fix the current system?? Making it easier for people to ” challenge” your ownership on a name is wrong. imo.

  2. Richard "R" Funden says:

    My favorite provider:

    http://cheaptakedowns.com/

  3. Big Stu says:

    I am excited as i know there will be riches to be had,i will file against every generic and three letter .com available and as its a game of numbers i am sure i will come out with a few wins,for $300 to $500 its worth a gamble and you imagine how many people there are out there like me ?
    Thank you ICANN for making me RICH very RICH ;-)

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      It’s Uniform Rapid Suspension.

      The domains have their resolution suspended. They’re not transferred to the complainant.

  4. John Berryhill says:

    Peachy.

    http://domains.adrforum.com/domains/decisions/1383534.htm

    Complainant is Viking Office Products, Inc. (“Complainant”), represented by Paul D. McGrady

    The Panel finds that Complainant knew or should have known that it was unable to prove that Respondent lacks rights or legitimate interests in the domain name and that Respondent registered and is using the disputed domain name in bad faith. Therefore, the Panel finds that that reverse domain name hijacking has occurred.

    • Brad Bertoglio says:

      Hi John, I look forward to hearing your thoughts once you have an opportunity to consider information about Intersponsive’s proposal, and hope that your concerns will be allayed. I think we are taking some innovative steps to ensure that all relevant constituencies are fully and fairly represented, both in terms of our organizational structure as well as our process for examiner training and oversight.

  5. John Berryhill says:

    Hey Brad, that invitation is almost as good as the phone call I received from Paul a couple of months ago in which he made the same offer and never contacted me again. Sounds swell.

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