By Jason Hayden
The announcement of the Uniform Resolution Service’s death has been greatly exaggerated.
Recently there’s been some debate about whether trademark holders are turning their backs on the new URS, and choosing the UDRP route instead. There’s no doubt that the numbers of filings over recent weeks support this argument, but I’d contend that the inferences drawn from the numbers aren’t correct. It’s true that the number of URS filings against new gTLDs is small compared with UDRP filings. But the figures quoted are based on just several weeks’ worth of filings, which is surely too short a timeframe to come to any meaningful interpretation. Also, these numbers can’t support the suggestion that brands don’t like using URS because the domain is only suspended pending re-registration.
If there’s no content to worry about, then in most cases it can be unnecessarily costly or time-consuming to escalate a URS complaint and then also a UDRP complaint.
Right now, just eight months since the first full launches beyond the Sunrise period, most new gTLDs have no content. Neustar has adopted the URS for its .us extension, the first major legacy extension to do so, and no doubt we’ll see a rise in URS filings against .us registrants as time goes by. It’s when larger legacy gTLDs adopt the URS that the floodgates will surely open.
Without any disrespect to the new gTLDs already in their sunrise period, they’re not, as yet, the ones we’re all waiting for. At CSC, we’d expect to see a surge in domain and web content infringements when, say, the .app domain goes live
In the meantime, the remedy is nearly always first a cease-and-desist letter (the preferred option if you think the infringer is likely to respond) or a swift move to UDRP. I’ve no doubt that URS will turn out to be a very useful rights protection mechanism. The number of complaints may be small right now, but I find it difficult to believe that it’s because brand owners have lost confidence in it. Remember, the numbers debated recently have been based on a few weeks’ worth of data. Let’s see what the figures are a year hence. Perhaps then we can make more meaningful judgments about how URS is being adopted.