• 06.05.2011 - 10:39 h
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New gTLDs: Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS)

The Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) is designed to offer trademark owners a quick and low-cost procedure to take down infringing websites. The domain name will not be deleted or transferred to the trademark owner, in fact a favorable decision for the complainant will result in the suspension of the domain name by the registry. Unless the decision is reversed, the domain name will point to a mandatory URS placeholder page for the remaining registration period.

The current Discussion Draft of the Applicant Guidebook (AGB) now includes a limited "loser pays" model for the URS section. Domain name owners acting as respondents in URS proceeding will have to pay a response filing fee if 26 or more domain names are subject to the proceeding. The relatively high number ensures that regular domain name owners will not have to pay for URS abuse by trademark owners.

To speed up the procedure, the administrative review by the URS provider has been slashed from 3 to 2 days. The domain name owner has 14 days to file his response and avoid a default judgement. Whereas the respondent had up to 2 years to seek relief from the default judgement in the earlier AGB Draft, response time has been reduced to six months now.

Only clear-cut cases of trademark abuse will lead to the desired remedy (suspension) and open questions of fact will result in a complaint denial. Compared to the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) URS has a similar set of examination elements but the burden of proof is higher. UDRP decisions are rendered based on a preponderance of evidence whereas the URS requires "clear and convincing evidence". The URS procedure also requires a word mark whereas UDRP allows any trademark or service mark to be used.

It remains to be seen how efficient the new procedure will be and how it co-exists with UDRP. Since the domain name isn't transferred through URS to the complainant, any third party may register the domain name once it becomes available again. This certainly strengthens the first come, first served principle. For new gTLDs trademark owners will now have to determine whether they desire suspension (URS), transfer (UDRP) or both (URS & UDRP) before initiating a procedure.

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