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.nz domain name dispute resolution policy FAQs

The Dispute Resolution Policy is a set of rules for quickly and cost effectively resolving disputes regarding .nz domain names.

It is administered by the office of the DNC (Domain Name Commissioner). The dispute resolution procedure under the policy is an alternative to conventional forms of redress through the Courts under the Fair Trading Act, The Trade Marks Act and the tort of passing off.

What is the dispute resolution policy?

The policy is a set of rules for quickly and cost effectively resolving disputes regarding .nz domain names.  It is administered by the office of the DNC (Domain Name Commissioner).

Is everyone bound by the policy?

Yes. All owners of .nz domain name names agree to be bound by the policy when they register or renew their domain name.

Does this mean that I have to use the policy to resolve a dispute?

As a complainant – no. The dispute resolution procedure under the policy is an alternative to conventional forms of redress through the Courts under the Fair Trading Act, The Trade Marks Act and the tort of passing off.

Is the policy the same as in other countries?

It depends. The policy is heavily based on the policy of Nominet UK and decisions from the United Kingdom tend to be similar. The policy is quite different from ICANN’s UDRP which is used for resolving disputes regarding the .com domain name.

Who can file a complaint under the policy?

Anyone who can show that they have rights in a name or mark which is identical or similar to the domain name.  A complainant also has to show that the domain name is an unfair registration in the hands of the respondent.

What is an “unfair registration”?

An unfair registration is a domain name that was registered or acquired in a manner which took unfair advantage of, or was unfairly detrimental to, the complainant’s rights, or which has been, or is likely to be, used in such a manner.

How do I lodge a complaint and how will it be resolved?

A complaint will proceed along the following lines:

  • A complaint is lodged by filing a written submission which sets out the nature of the complaint, the rights which the complainant relies on, and why the domain name is an unfair registration. This complaint will usually be accompanied by documentary evidence.
  • The respondent will be sent a copy of the complaint and asked to reply. Many do not.
    In situations where the respondent responds to the complaint, the matter will be set down for an informal mediation.  The DNC determines how the mediation will take place and appoints a mediator from its list of mediators.
  • If the parties do not achieve settlement/resolution through informal mediation within 10 days (or if the respondent did not respond to the complaint), the complainant is asked whether they want to refer the complaint to an expert. There is a charge for this.
  • If the complainant decides not to appoint an expert the complaint is treated as withdrawn. If an expert is appointed, he or she will assess the complaint and issue a written decision.
    How much is the fee for the experts?
    The Complainant must pay a fee of $2000 + GST for disputes involving 1-5 domain names and only one Complainant. For disputes involving 6 or more domain names, and/or more than one Complainant, the DNC will set a fee in consultation with the Complainant.

If you file a domain name complaint is the subject domain name then “frozen”?

A domain name registration cannot be transferred: (a) once a Complaint has been filed electronically, pending receipt of the hard copy Complaint; (b) while dispute resolution proceedings are in progress, or (c) while court or other tribunal proceedings are in progress.

Can I appeal the decision?

Yes, each party has the right to appeal the decision of a single Expert to a panel of three Experts. There are no further appeals.

What powers does the Expert have?

Experts have the power to cancel, transfer, suspend or amend a domain name, but not to award costs.

Where can I find out more information on domain name dispute resolution?

You can find out more by accessing James & Wells Intellectual Property Law in New Zealand or by contacting us.