WIPO Launches Paperless UDRP Proceedings

From Monday, December 14, 2009, the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center will launch essentially paperless UDRP procedures. This removes the requirement for mandatory filing and notification of paper pleadings in WIPO cases filed under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

This latest development of the UDRP is expected to substantially improve the efficiency of the mechanism by reducing the time and cost involved in submitting WIPO UDRP filings and to save up to one million pages of paper filed per year making it a greener and largely paperless procedure. While this leaner, more efficient procedure will become mandatory from March 1, 2010, ICANN in an announcement dated December 7, 2009, has signaled that UDRP providers may begin accepting electronic filings with immediate effect as long parties also have the option of submitting hard copies.

The modified Rules arose from a WIPO Center proposal made to ICANN in December 2008. Following an ICANN public comment process on the proposal in August 2009 which reflected broad support from UDRP stakeholders, an amendment package was submitted by WIPO to ICANN in September 2009. These modifications to the Rules governing the UDRP were approved by the ICANN Board at its Seoul meeting on October 30, 2009 with an implementation process subsequently announced by ICANN on December 7, 2009.

In line with ICANN’s announcement the WIPO Center will, from Monday December 14, 2009, allow all parties in UDRP cases administered by WIPO to submit electronic-only filings, using email. Those parties who elect to do so may be further guided by the modified WIPO Supplemental Rules, which have been slightly revised for this specific purpose (as pre-published with the WIPO amendment package sent to ICANN in September 2009).

The modified WIPO Supplemental Rules contain guidance on formatting modalities for electronic-only filing of UDRP cases. Parties who do not yet wish to use the new paperless option remain guided by the existing WIPO Supplemental Rules; such parties may continue to file in hard copy until February 28, 2010. The newly modified UDRP Rules continue to contain safeguards to ensure fair and effective notification of the complaint to the respondent.

Additional information about the new procedure, including modified filing guidelines, model pleadings for both parties and FAQs will be available on the website of the WIPO Center.

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