Domain name disputes taken into national courts

NAF decisions appealed

Disquiet over the domain registration dispute process involving .biz domains has led to court action on both sides of the Atlantic.

UK domain name registrar Internetters has launched High Court proceedings to halt the transfer of 'domainregistry.biz' to US company, DomainRegistry.com Inc.

Internetters is going to the High Court in an attempt to reverse a decision by the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers)-appointed, National Arbitration Forum (NAF), which would strip it of a domain which it is using in its business.

Paul Westley, co-founder of Internetters, told us that it registered 'domainregistry.biz' because it was descriptive of the services it offers and has a strong generic name.

Under STOP, .biz registry Neulevel's Start Up Opposition Policy, a party which believes it has intellectual property rights to a particular domain name can apply to have that name transferred to it, if it can demonstrate right to the name.

But this rule shouldn't apply to generic and descriptive names, Westley argues, noting that although DomainRegistry.com Inc has applied to trademark domainregistry, its applications have been turned down.

Last year, Professor Michael Geist of the University of Ottawa conducted a study into allegations of systematic unfairness in the ICANN Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The study found that NAF complainants win 82.9% of the time.

Internetters claims that the UDRP is US-biased and this is demonstrated by its case.

It is seeking to overturn the ruling against it and repeat the success of an Ottawa businessman, Douglas Black, who recently won rights to the domain name canadian.biz against brewing giant Molson.

Molson owns the trademark for the word Canadian, as it applies to beer, and this impressed Internet arbitrators but not the Ontario Superior Court. But many firms have Canadian in their name and Judge Wright decided that Molson had no particular plans for canadian.biz, unlike Black who told the court he intends to use the domain as a meeting place for Canadian businessmen.

The Judge overturned the ruling of the arbitration panel and awarded Black costs.

Despite been dragged through a protracted legal process, Black bore no ill will against Molson and said he would continue to drink their beer, The Globe and Mail reports.

Which is nice. ®

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