The Internet Commerce Association has called for an ICANN investigation into the National Arbitration Forum’s “seriously flawed” record of UDRP decisions.
The demands follow two recent NAF cybersquatting cases thought to be particularly egregious.
In the first, Hardware Resources, Inc. v. Yaseen Rehman, the domain hardwareresources.org was transferred based on a trademark that explicitly denounced rights to the term “hardware resources”.
In the second, Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Nokta Internet Technologies, NAF allegedly broke from standard UDRP procedure when it handed autoownersinsurance.com to the complainant.
Both were cases of potentially valuable generic domains being lost, and both were recently singled out by IP attorney Paul Keating as being particularly dubious decisions.
The ICA represents some big domainers and some of the big domaining registrars. Its counsel, Phil Corwin, wrote to ICANN yesterday to demand a review of NAF’s practices:
NAF’s administration of the UDRP in the cases cited above appears to be seriously flawed and creates the appearance of substantial bias and ineptitude. ICANN has a responsibility to make serious inquiry into this matter and to take remedial action based upon its findings.
According to Corwin, there’s circumstantial evidence that NAF encourages “forum shopping” due to its habit of appointing a small number of adjudicators known to be friendly to complainants.
Regular readers of DomainIncite and other domain industry news blogs may have noticed that when we report incredulously about UDRP decisions, it’s usually with reference to NAF cases.
Corwin’s letter comes as part of a larger ongoing campaign by the ICA to get ICANN to sign formal contracts with its approved UDRP resolution providers, which it lacks today.