Domain Name Disputes

With a little controversy over the Tasman with the closing of a fake John Howard website, it is timely to highlight that as at the 1st of June 2006 there will be a change on how disputes over .nz domain names are managed.

Previously the only recourse for disputes has been the High Court. From 1 June there will be the ability to have a dispute mediated and then if necessary adjudicated by an “expert”. The policy does not apply to all disputes. The one line summary is that it is for when one party had registered a domain in bad faith and with no rights to the name, and the other party can demonstrate some rights to the name. If both parties have a legitimate right to a domain then it doesn’t try to judge who has the “better” right.

As a final step towards the policy going live at 1 June, a panel of experts has just been appointed. There are four QCs, of which three are former Judges, on the panel.

I’ve been on the working party which has developed the policy for the last five years or so. Somewhat surreal that it has all finally been agreed upon, and will be operative in three months.

This won’t affect the vast majority of .nz registrants. If however you own xyz.com and have been trying to sell it to xyz ltd for $500,000 then you may have a problem!

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