With so many new gTLDs moving into their respective general availability periods, and incidents of cybersquatting beginning to appear, many companies are now looking towards the URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension) as a possible solution for quickly remediating abuse. As a reminder, domains that are the subject of a successful URS ruling are suspended for the remainder of the registration term, or can be renewed for an additional year at the current registrar
While the URS provides a number of upsides, it’s not necessarily the panacea that many had hoped it would be. So let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the URS.
First the good.
The URS provides an inexpensive, expedited arbitration process for dealing with instances of clearly infringing new gTLD domain name registrations. With a filing fee of just $375 and a formal complaint which can be no longer than 500 words, it’s clear why so many are taking a closer look at this option. And if you’re looking for a way to get almost immediate gratification, filing a URS complaint might just fit the bill, as decisions can be handed down within a week’s time.
Next the bad.
So while you may be able to redirect an infringing domain relatively quickly to a website stating that the domain has been suspended, you will not be able to update Whois contact information. Contact information for the domain will continue to show the original infringing registrant. Moreover the domain must remain at the registrar where it was initially registered.
And finally, the ugly.
Undoubtedly, the biggest issue with the URS is that there is no transfer mechanism. The domain will become available for registration again at expiration. This means that brand owners will be forced to monitor the domain after it becomes available for registration, or they must place a snap on the name in order to attempt recovery at expiration. Of course, there’s never a guarantee that domains can be recovered when they become available for registration again.
Clearly there are instances where the URS will provide relief. But what should you do if you need the domain transferred? Start by contacting the registrant and explaining that the domain is infringing and ask for them to allow the name to be transferred. If the registrant does not comply, then follow-up with a more formal C&D – in some cases you may consider offering to cover the cost of the registration. And in the case that the registrant still does not comply, consider a UDRP which provides for a transfer mechanism. Of course, there may be cases where going straight to a UDRP may be best due to the risk of cyberflight and/or timing requirements.