Friday, May 27, 2011

Should Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) Be Changed?

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has formulated the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) long before. It has stood the test of the time. However, with the passage of time, new challenges and issues have also arisen.

This has forced the GNSO Council to consider a revision of UDRP norms. The UDRP has not been reviewed by the GNSO Council since its inception. ICANN has come up with a preliminary issue report on the current state of UDRP. This report is seeking inputs from UDRP specialists and public at large for the desirability to bring necessary changes in the UDRP policy.

According to Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based IP and ICT Law firm Perry4Law and a Panelist at WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre, ICANN has been taking many pro active steps for streamlining the Domain Name world. For instance, recently ICANN and INTERPOL have agreed to work in the direction of Securing Internet, informs Dalal. Now a Preliminary Issue Report on the Current State of the UDRP has been released by ICANN to gather popular opinions of Stakeholders, informs Dalal.

There is opinion for both in favour of and against such revision. WIPO’s Erik Wilbers is not in favour of bringing changes in the present UDRP scheme. In fact, WIPO has written a letter to ICANN advising it against revising the UDRP. WIPO argues that the UDRP has proven to be flexible and fair; that this is in any event the wrong time to revise it given expansion of the domain name system and introduction of new rights-protection mechanisms; that review would probably end up overburdening the UDRP; and that any review should be preceded by an analysis of cybersquatting.

As far as India is concerned, technological issues of IPRs in India are still not popular. For instance, we do not have a Dedicated Law on Domain Name Protection in India, informs Dalal. Domain Name Protection in India is needed and in order to do so we need a Dedicated Domain Name Law, suggests Dalal. It would be better if India makes its choice and opinion regarding the Report very clear opines Dalal.

While none can doubt that UDRP is far from perfect yet whether it must be amended or not have to be decided only after analysing the opinions of both sides.