Brief introduction of newly revised China ccTLD Dispute Resolution Policy
1. Brief introduction of newly revised China ccTLD Dispute Resolution Policy
On June 18, 2019, China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released the revised China ccTLD Dispute Resolution Policy (hereinafter referred to as “Policy 2019 version”) in order to resolve disputes relating to “.CN” and “.中国” top-level domain names. Comparing with the Policy issued in 2014 (hereinafter referred to as “Policy 2014 version”), the Policy 2019 version features the following important changes:
- Extension of the time limit for a domain name dispute: The Policy 2019 version prolongs the time limit of a dispute from two year as of the registration of a domain name to three years.
- Standard on recognition of bad faith evidence of the domain name holder: Article 9 of Policy 2014 version stipulates: “Any of the following circumstances may be the supportive evidence of bad faith … (b) The domain name holder, on many occasions, registers domain names of other persons’ names or signs in order to block the owners of such names or signs from use it as a domain name.” The requirement “on many occasions” has been deleted from Policy 2019 version.
2. Comparison between the Policy 2019 version and Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy
When comparing the Policy 2019 version with UDRP, one especially notes the following differences:
- Time limit of the dispute: The UDPR does not put any restriction on the time limit for filing a domain name dispute. While the Policy 2019 version has prolonged the time limit from two years to three years, a limit still applies and needs to be considered before filing action.
- Right basis: The UDRP is limited to the protection of prior trademark rights. The Policy 2019 version protects not only trademark rights of a complainant, but also trade name rights, prior registered domain names, and further rights.
- Recognition of bad faith: The Policy 2019 version and the UDRP share certain features related to determine bad faith, such as:
(i) The domain name registrant has registered or acquired the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name to the complainant who is the owner of the trademark, or to a competitor of that complainant for illegal profit;
(ii) the domain name registrant has registered the domain name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark from using or reflecting such trademark in a corresponding domain name; or
(iii) the domain name registrant has registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of disrupting the business of a competitor.
The UDPR also lists the behavior of “by using the domain name, the domain name registrant has intentionally attempted to attract, for commercial gain, Internet users to the registrant’s web site or other on-line location, by creating a likelihood of confusion with the complainant's mark as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the registrant’s web site or location or of a product or service on the registrant’s web site or location.” as bad faith evidence. Although the Policy 2019 version does not list this behavior, it includes a catch-all clause referring to “other circumstance that shall be regarded as bad faith” which actually brings more opportunities for remedies for domain name dispute complainants.