Following negotiations with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on the application of the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) to the .UA country-code top-level domain (ccTLD), Ukrainian .UA domain operator Hostmaster adopted the .UA Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UA-DRP), a domain dispute resolution mechanism similar to the UDRP. The UA-DRP entered into force on March 19, 2019.
The UA-DRP Overview
For the time being, the UA-DRP will be applicable only to second-level private domain names (e.g. <domain.ua>), which can be registered only by trademark owners or licensees on the basis of a national or international trademark valid in Ukraine.
It is expected that Hostmaster will reach a decision regarding the UA-DRP application to third-level private domain names (e.g. <domain.com.ua>, <domain.net.ua>, etc.) by September 2019.
The UA-DRP proceedings will be administered by the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center.
For a complaint to be successful, the following must be proven:
- The complainant’s trademark is identical or confusingly similar to the domain name;
- The domain name registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name in question; and
- The domain name is registered or used in bad faith.
The remedies available to the complainant are the domain name cancellation or its transfer to the complainant.
The UA-DRP Peculiarities
The UA-DRP is similar to the UDRP, but there are certain differences:
It is sufficient that the complainant proves that either the registration or the use of the contested domain name is in bad faith, whereas the UDRP requires the complainant to prove both.
While the UA-DRP procedure allows for the dispute to be transferred to a Ukrainian court, or for WIPO’s Administrative Panel decision to be challenged in a Ukrainian court, the UDRP allows for the dispute to be transferred to the location of either the registrar’s principal office or the domain name holder’s address.
While both the UA-DRP and the UDRP state that unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the language of the proceeding will be the language of the registration agreement, the UA-DRP further specifies that it should be English, Russian or Ukrainian.
WIPO’s Administrative Panel cannot consolidate domain disputes governed by both the UDRP and the UA-DRP. Only disputes governed by a single policy may be consolidated, e.g. it is impossible to consolidate disputes regarding <domain.ua> and <domain.com>, because they are governed by different policies – the UA-DRP and the UDRP – but it is possible to consolidate disputes regarding <domain1.ua> and <domain2.ua>.
Under the UA-DRP, a domain name registration cannot be transferred to another holder during a pending court proceeding or arbitration, while the UDRP allows the transfer if the party to whom the domain name registration is being transferred agrees, in writing, to be bound by the decision of the court or arbitrator.
Hostmaster (not ICAAN, as in the case of the UDRP) reserves the right to modify the UA-DRP at any time. The revised policy will be published at least 30 calendar days before its entry into force.
If a complaint is found deficient in some respect and the complainant fails to correct the deficiencies within five calendar days, the administrative proceeding may be deemed withdrawn without prejudice to submission of a different complaint by the complainant. The UDRP’s provision states that the administrative proceeding “is deemed to be withdrawn”.
Cost and Timeframe
The UA-DRP procedure cost is equal to the UDRP procedure cost, and ranges from EUR 1,315 (USD 1,500) to EUR 4,385 (USD 5,000). The UDRP procedure usually last 60-75 days.
UA-DRP’s Application to Existing Domain Name Registrations
It is unclear whether the UA-DRP is going to apply to domain names registered before March 19, 2019, or only to those registered or renewed after that date. Neither the UA-DRP nor the accompanying rules contain a clear provision regarding this matter. Hostmaster has not clarified the issue, so it appears that it will be regulated by each particular domain name registry.