The Arab Center for Dispute Resolution (ACDR) was approved by ICANN on the 18th of May to become the 5th UDRP provider. ICANN just published the agenda of the Regular Meeting of the ICANN Board that was held last Saturday.
ICANN had received a proposal from the Arab Center for Domain Name Dispute Resolution (ACDR) in September 2010 to be recognized as one of the official dispute resolution providers under the UDRP. In October 2010 ICANN had requested comments to be submitted on the ACDR proposal and then again ICANN requested comments this March on a a revised version of the proposal. Several comments were submitted and most of the comments were against adding a new UDRP provider, and the official ICANN report reflects that, but that didn’t stop ICANN to do what was planned: to approve the ACDR proposal. Comments were made by George Kirikos, Nat Cohen, Kristina Rosette, Phil Corwin of ICA, Morgan Linton, Kathryne Badura, Steve DelBianco, H SAJM. I asked for a 1 week comment extension period but my request was not considered.
ACDR has produced a further revised proposal addressing a final issue raised in the 1 March 2013 public comment forum but this version has not yet been made available to the public. ICANN prepared a briefing paper and that will also be publicly posted. ICANN claims that the revised ACDR proposal meets the suggested elements as set forth in Information Concerning Approval Process for Dispute Resolution Service Providers.
The Board approved the application of ACDR to become a UDRP provider, and advised the President and CEO, through the General Counsel’s Office, to enter into discussions with ACDR regarding the process for ACDR’s provision of UDRP services.
ICANN also said that the approval of the first UDRP provider located in the Middle East enhances ICANN’s accountability to the Internet community as a whole, enhancing choice for UDRP complainants. Here is how ICANN and ACDR handled the public comments:
“Some of the comments in opposition addressed issues such as the level of fees, which is fully within the ACDR’s purview. Other commenters suggested that ICANN develop contracts with each of its UDRP providers as a means to require uniformity among providers. Contracts have never been required of UDRP providers. On the issue of uniformity among providers, however, the ACDR’s proposal does two things: first, highlighted areas where risk of non-uniform conduct was perceived (such as issues with commencement dates and definitions of writings) have been modified; second, the proposal now includes an affirmative recognition that if ICANN imposes further requirements on providers, the ACDR will follow those requirements; third, the ACDR has revised a specific portion of its Supplemental Rules that was highlighted by commenters as a potential risk to uniformity. This is a positive advancement and helps address concerns of ICANN’s ability to, in the future, identify areas where uniformity of action is of its obligation to abide by ICANN modifications that could enhance uniformity among providers.”
The ACDR is jointly established by the Arab Intellectual Property Mediation and Arbitration Society (AIPMAS) and the Arab Society for Intellectual Property (ASIP), with headquarters in Amman, Jordan and additional offices in other Arab Countries. Both the AIPMAS (established in 1987) and ASIP promote the activities of the Arab Center of Mediation and Arbitration, established in 2003, active in resolving conflicts related to intellectual property through international arbitrators. The ACDR will be the first Approved UDRP Dispute Resolution Service Provider headquartered in an Arab state.
The current 4 active UDRP providers are:
Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre
National Arbitration Forum
The Czech Arbitration Court Arbitration Center for Internet Disputes
WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization