The Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), now in operation for 16 years, has stood the test of time. It has proved to be a fast, reliable and cost-effective means of controlling cybersquatting and an effective alternative dispute resolution mechanism. However, there comes a time when even the most successful policies come up for review and that time has now arrived. While the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) anticipated such a review in 2011, the review was postponed until the rights protection mechanisms for the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) programme being rolled out at that time were established. It is therefore crucial that all members of the trademark and domain name communities take an active interest in the current review process in order to ensure that the integrity of the UDRP is not undermined.
Scope of ICANN's Review
The UDRP is to be reviewed in the overall context of a broader review of all rights protection mechanisms. The process, including the implementation (meeting or otherwise) of the working group's report by ICANN, is likely to take several years. The agreed mandate is to review in the first instance the new generic top-level domain programme rights protection mechanisms and then review the UDRP. Notwithstanding the considerable debate about the correct approach, ultimately it was agreed that this staged approach was preferable provided that there was an appropriate link between the two parts so that the review of the UDRP would not be undertaken in a vacuum. The meeting of the working group was on 21 April 2016.
Form of ICANN's Review
The working group currently involves more than 100 volunteers from the ICANN community. It is likely that there will be three co-chairs representing different stakeholders. Work on different topics will be undertaken...