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ICANN plans meeting on URS amid calls for RFP

Kevin Murphy, September 19, 2012, 16:29:02 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN wants to try to put the unresolved issues surrounding the Uniform Rapid Suspension system to bed and is planning a meeting in a couple of weeks time to solicit community input.
According to an email from chief of strategy Kurt Pritz to the GNSO Council and At-Large Advisory Committee, ICANN plans to hold a webinar, with a possible face-to-face option, in about two weeks.
The aim is to sort out the problems with URS, which was originally conceived as a faster, cheaper version of UDRP for clear-cut cases of cybersquatting that don’t require much thought to decide.
It’s currently neither fast enough for the trademark lobby’s liking, nor as cheap as ICANN had hoped.
ICANN had targeted a $300 to $500 fee to file URS complaints, but following conversations with the World Intellectual Property Organization and National Arbitration Forum it realized that the true cost was likely to be as much as triple that amount, more in line with UDRP fees.
The higher than expected costs are largely due to the additional registrant protections that were negotiated into the URS procedure over the last few years, which complicate matters.
At a session at the ICANN meeting in Prague this June, community members tried to figure out ways to make URS cheaper without compromising these protections.
Pritz’s email suggested that some of these ideas might work, but others might run counter to established policy.
Many parties on both side of the fence are coming to the realization that unless URS is in place, new gTLD registries that are contractually obliged to abide by it may not be able to launch.
Yesterday, at Melbourne IT’s summit on trademark protection in Washington DC, there were some calls for ICANN to just issue a request for proposals and see which provider offers the best price.
There are plenty of UDRP lawyers/panelists who believe URS cases can easily be handled in 15 minutes at $200, assuming most of the process is automated and the complaints are kept to a word limit.

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Comments (3)

  1. Philip Corwin says:

    Before even considering any URS alteration based on the notion that the cost target can’t be met, ICANN must provide some analysis documenting that it really can’t. AN ICA document disclosure request in June revealed they had nothing in the way of hard data, just the self-interested allegations of WIPO and NAF.
    The best way to find out is to publish an RFP open to all qualified arbitration providers. In other words, a market test of reality.

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