.UK Domain Name Disputes

Written by Tim Brown, Head of Brand Protection

The .uk domain name authority, Nominet, has released its annual summary of domain name disputes brought before its Dispute Resolution Service (DRS). The DRS allows .uk disputes to be settled efficiently and cost-effectively through mediation or via a decision through its panel of independent Experts.

Nominet reported that 763 disputes were brought under the DRS in 2018, with an increase in the number of disputes resolved through mediation. Of the complaints made in 2018, only one Expert decision was appealed in comparison to three the previous year.

HM Revenue & Customs Dispute

Cases of interest highlighted by Nominet included one brought by HM Revenue & Customs in which they were represented by Com Laude’s domain name brand protection division. The dispute related to <hmrc-tax-refund-gov.uk> and Nominet noted:
A complaint filed by HM Revenue & Customs regarding a domain name containing the initials HMRC and terms related to taxation. At the time that the complaint was made, the domain name did not resolve to an active web site, although some similar ones do include fake login details to engage in phishing.  A summary decision awarded the domain name to the Complainant.

Other Dispute Resolution Service highlights showed that:

  • The most common industries for Complainants were Banking & Finance, Automotive, Electronics, Education, Fashion, and Media & Publishing in that order.
  • The year saw cases bought by complainants from 26 different countries, led by the UK (472) followed by the US (44), with France (18) and Germany (12) swapping places from the 2017 ranking.
  • Respondents were more widely dispersed, coming from 41 different countries in 2018, up from the 34 recorded in 2017. The UK continues to lead with 504 respondents, with the US second (15) and China third (8).
  • The average length of time DRS cases take from being filed to being closed decreased from 57 to around 50 days.
  • Cases being resolved by a Summary Expert decision took on average 58 days, compared to 62 in 2017, whilst Full Decision cases took on average 87 days, compared to 96 in 2017.
  • The majority of cases (90%) involved .co.uk domains, 5.1% were .uk domains, 4.6% were .org.uk, and 0.1% were .me.uk

Our team has extensive experience with various dispute resolution procedures; including Nominet’s DRS and have successfully acted against respondents across the EMEA, the Americas, Asia Pacific and Australasia.

Both Andrew DS Lothian and Tim Brown both act as independent Experts for Nominet and bring their unique experience to bear on behalf of our clients.

Get in touch, if you would like assistance with a dispute.

Nominet’s report can be downloaded from their website here: https://www.nominet.uk/from-bungalows-and-ball-games-to-banking-2018-in-uk-domain-name-disputes/

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