The generally acknowledged rapid escalation of the opportunity for cybersquatting caused by the proposed new gTLD round is an issue of major concern for governments in view of its likely impact on business, consumer and economic welfare, both nationally and globally. The URS mechanism was recommended specifically to tackle obvious examples of opportunistic cybersquatting by providing rights holders with a cost effective and swift remedy.
The GAC advises therefore that these proposed amendments to the URS are most important. Without these amendments, the GAC believes that URS will fail to meet its stated purpose and will be rendered ineffective and useless.
In particular, the GAC considers that the current proposals are too cumbersome and lengthy to support public policy objectives of harm reduction. Surveys and consultations undertaken by GAC representatives show that few in-house trade mark counsel believe that the proposed URS system in the final DAG provides a cost effective, expedited process in clear cut cases of trade mark abuse.
Furthermore, the process too closely mirrors the UDRP mechanisms which are intended to deal with more complex disputes. The URS as currently devised does not contain sufficient deterrence to serial cybersquatters. These changes would bring the URS back into line with its original objectives as agreed by the IRT and STI by ensuring that the URS provides an effective and rapid remedy, with more streamlined processes and faster turn round of decisions.
While it is noted that that the URS only covers intentional bad faith conduct, the GAC underlines that ICANN should make every effort to ensure that safeguards are in place to facilitate reinstatement as soon as possible in a genuine case of accidental rights infringement, through illness or some other legitimate absence, an individual or small/medium sized enterprise, has failed to respond within the timescale available.