The Forum (previously known as the National Arbitration Forum), one of the five ICANN approved domain name dispute resolution service providers, announced today that is has added a few new FAQs regarding GDPR and other privacy laws have and will continue to have an impact on the accessibility of domain WHOIS information.
“As of May 25, 2018, publicly available WHOIS data will not include full contact information for domain name registrants in many instances. On May 17, 2018, ICANN released a Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data (“Temporary Specification”) to address the implications of the GDPR. See, https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/gtld-registration-data-specs-en.
FORUM has continued to accept and administer domain name disputes under the UDRP and URS pursuant to the Temporary Specification.”
“ICANN has initiated an Expedited Policy Development Process (“EPDP”) to consider the adoption or modification of the Temporary Specification. (https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2018-07-19-en) It is anticipated that the EPDP will include discussion of a standardized access model to nonpublic registration information. ”
FORUM will add the following FAQs to its website to assist parties in navigating the changes in WHOIS access:
Q: How can a trademark owner find domain name registrant details in the wake of GDPR and other privacy laws?
A: The registrar is required to provide an anonymized email address or a web-based contact form in order to facilitate communication with the domain name registrant.
Q: How can a trademark owner file a complaint against a domain name registrant if the WHOIS information is not available?
A: Currently, not all WHOIS information is unavailable. A complainant will be required to verify that WHOIS information is not publicly available for the domain name(s) at issue in the complaint. If the WHOIS information is not publicly available, FORUM will accept a complaint without complete contact information for the registrant.
Once the complaint is filed, FORUM will contact the registrar or registry to obtain the information. The ICANN Temporary Specification, Annexes D and E acknowledge that FORUM, as a Provider, will be provided with registrant information upon the filing of a complaint.
In UDRP cases, FORUM will then request that the complainant amend the complaint to reflect the correct registrant contact information.
Q: What happens if the registrar does not provide the information to FORUM upon request?
A: There have been instances of delay in obtaining the requested information, but FORUM has not experienced a refusal from a registrar or registry to provide registrant information. If an ICANN-accredited registrar refuses to provide registrant information, FORUM will work with ICANN compliance staff and inform the complainant of the problem.
Q: Will the procedure be different for URS cases under the Temporary Specification?
A: Yes. Amendment of a URS complaint with additional registrant information is not permitted under the URS Procedure and Rules. However, the Temporary Specification does allow for FORUM to add registrant information after the complaint is filed. If registration data is masked in a URS case, it will be treated similarly to a privacy shield and the registry will provide verification with whatever contact details it has available. FORUM will use this information for service unless FORUM receives a response from a registrar with additional registrant contact information. The most complete information obtained will be used for service purposes, and will be provided to the complainant upon request. The Examiner will be provided the registrant information obtained upon appointment to the case.