ICANN has kicked off a review of its Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, the occasionally controversial process used to adjudicate cybersquatting complaints.
The GNSO Council on Thursday voted to ask ICANN staff for a so-called “Issues Report” on UDRP, indicating that reform of the process is likely.
This is the relevant portion of the resolution, passed unanimously:
RESOLVED #2, the GNSO Council requests an Issues Report on the current state of the UDRP. This effort should consider:
* How the UDRP has addressed the problem of cybersquatting to date, and any insufficiencies/inequalities associated with the process.
* Whether the definition of cybersquatting inherent within the existing UDRP language needs to be reviewed or updated. The Issue Report should include suggestions for how a possible PDP on this issue might be managed.
Issues Reports commissioned by the Council are expected within 15 days, and 15 days after that the Council is expected to vote on whether to kick off a Policy Development Process.
A PDP could lead to changes to the UDRP that would be binding on all ICANN-accredited registrars and their customers.
While the UDRP has proven very effective at dealing with clear-cut cases of cybersquatting over the last 12 years, critics claim that it is often interpreted too broadly in favor of trademark interests.
If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know I frequently report on unfathomable UDRP decisions, but these are generally the exception rather than the rule.
Unrelated to UDRP, the GNSO Council has also voted against asking ICANN for an Issues Report on registry/registrar best practices for mitigating domain abuse.
Business interests wanted registrars to take more measures (voluntarily) to curb activities such as phishing, but registrars think this kind of rule-making is beyond the scope of the GNSO.
After a lot of heated debate and arcane procedural wrangling, the Council decided instead to ask for a “discussion paper”, a term that has no meaning under ICANN’s rules, meaning a PDP is less likely.