Resolution settles Internet tiff

DAVID CANTON - For the London Free Press - May 28, 2005 Read this on Canoe

London's DRN Commerce Inc. recently won a domain name dispute.

DRN provides collection processing and debt recovery services to various financial institutions, insurance companies and their service providers.

In February, DRN filed a complaint under the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) dispute resolution policy regarding "drn.ca." DRN had discovered a competitor had registered the domain name drn.ca and used it to point to its own website.

The arbitration panel recently released its decision ordering the transfer of the domain name, drn.ca, to the complainant, DRN. The full text of this decision can be found as decision No. 30 on the CIRA website, www.cira.ca, in the decisions under the dispute resolution policy link.

Different domain name dispute processes are available depending on whether the domain name is a top-level generic domain name (such as .com, .net or .org) or a country code domain name (such as .ca).

ICANN (Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers) provides a dispute resolution process to anyone who wants to file a complaint about a .com, .net or .org domain name. CIRA provides the dispute resolution process for anyone who would like to dispute a .ca domain name.

While the two policies are similar in approach, the criteria for success differ.

CIRA's domain name dispute process allows entities or individuals to file a complaint if they feel another person or entity has registered a .ca domain name to which they believe they have rights.

The complainant will have to show that:

* The .ca domain name is confusingly similar to either a trademark or trade name of the complainant.

* It was registered in bad faith.

* The registrant has no legitimate interest in the domain name.

In DRN's case, the domain name was not just confusingly similar, but identical, except for the .ca suffix, to "DRN," which the company has used as both a trademark and trade name for several years.

The competitor's use of this trademark as a domain name was first brought to DRN's attention when a software distributor's rep got confused after looking for DRN on the Internet.

DRN decided to pursue its rights under CIRA's dispute resolution process instead of proceeding by way of a lengthy and expensive court battle for an injunction.

"We are very pleased with the panel's decision and are glad to find that CIRA's process actually works and provides the remedy of transferring the domain name to a successful complainant," DRN president and chief executive Wayne McLeish said.

The successful result for DRN under the CIRA process was that the domain name, drn.ca, was taken away from its competitor. The process took a couple of months from when the complaint was filed.

Though this process is simpler than a court proceeding, potential complainants must consider the process carefully.

The rules and process are technical and must be followed closely to ensure success. Careful drafting of the complaint is imperative, because it is the only opportunity to present evidence to the tribunal and explain why the transfer of the domain should be made.

No oral evidence is given and one only gets to reply to the registrant's evidence if the registrant claims the complaint itself was made in bad faith. The complaint can't be longer than 5,000 words.

(Editor's note: The author of this article filed DRN's complaint.)