Evidence that the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) is advising complainants on how to win a complaint OR it simply allows complaints that don’t follow the UDRP rules to proceed has come to light.
The complainant, in the case I discovered, did not have a trademark and couldn’t have a trademark or service mark as it was using the trademark of another company. And it was not a partner of that said company. The complaint was made by the owner of e.g. samsungphones.com to the owner of e.g. samsungphone.com. (these are not the real domain names)
Even thought it was clear that the complaint was not “winnable” NAF still went ahead and accepted it after giving advise to the complainant how to fix the complaint so it had a chance of winning. Maybe NAF was hoping for a “favorable” (to complainants) panelist.
NAF is one centers that administers administrative hearings, similar to arbitrations, in domain name cases since 1999. NAF and WIPO are the 2 largest centers in the world.
Here is part of the letter that the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) sent to the complainant:
The above referenced domain name complaint has been received by the National Arbitration Forum and the above file number assigned. However, in reviewing your complaint the Forum has identified the following deficiencies:
- Amend complaint to consistently list the Complainant’s name in the header of the complaint and the section for Complainant information (your section [2.]).
- Amend complaint to consistently list the Complainant’s address in the header of the complaint and the section for Complainant information (your section [2.]).
- Amend complaint to list the Respondent’s name and contact information as currently found in the Registrar’s Whois database.
- Our records indicate that <**************> is the Registrar of the disputed domain name. Amend the complaint accordingly.
- Amend complaint to specify the trademark(s) or service mark(s) on which the complaint is based and, for each mark, describe the goods or services, if any, with which the mark is used (Complainant may also separately describe other goods and services with which it intends, at the time the complaint is submitted, to use the mark in the future.) ICANN Rule 3(b)(viii). Your section [6.][c.]
- Supply a table of contents for all evidence attached. ICANN Rule 3(b)(xv).
- Supply a copy of the ICANN Policy with the amended complaint. Rule 3(b)(xv).
- Supply any trademark or service mark registration upon which the complaint relies. Rule 3(b)(xv).
In order for the Forum to proceed with the arbitration of this case, you are required to rectify the deficiencies within 5 calendar days from the date of this notification, or the complaint will be dismissed without prejudice as required by ICANN’s UDRP Rule 4(b). Please note that a revised copy will also need to be sent to the Respondent.
If more than 5 calendar days are needed to correct deficiencies, Forum Supplemental Rule 12(a) provides for withdrawal and reinstatement within 30 calendar days, subject to a reinstatement fee. Please note that a request to withdraw under Supp. Rule 12(a)(i) must be received by the Forum before the end of the 5 day deficiency period.
Some might say that NAF is simply following the UDRP rules set by ICANN but the amended complaint didn’t change much in the trademark deficiency part. Yet the complaint was accepted by NAF.
Needless to say the complaint was denied (even after the respondent defaulted) and the complainant was not happy about it.
So the truth is that NAF was either trying to help the complainant win the dispute or they simply allow for any complaint to be submitted regardless of the ICANN rules just to get the UDRP fee. It is either one or the other. Or both! You decide.