WIPO arbitrator list bias?
Date: Thursday November 06 2003, @02:17PM
Topic: Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)
DavidP writes "A friend of mine, who works at a public interest law firm that has on occasion looked into the problem of UDRP pro-complainant bias, wrote me with the following query:
"I have recently learned that two panelists who tended to read the UDRP strictly and tended to be sympathetic to free speech arguments --
Milton Mueller and Gervaise Davis -- have been quietly dropped from WIPO's list of approved panelists (Davis remains on NAF's list, though). have you noticed any tendency to push the "libertarian" side off the panels and
increase the presence of what might be called ip traditionalists on the panels? Does anybody look at this issue systematically? I raise this question because a deliberate alteration of the policy tilt of panelists has an impact on the litigants by biasing the selection both of single panelists and "neutrals" on three member
panels. it would be hard to go at this issue based on the initial selection of persons for the list of panelists (the universe from which
selection might be made is so huge), but maybe it is easier to take on the whole selection process when removal of panelists is at issue."
Michael Geist [Link corrected] actually has taken a systematic look at this, and has compiled a small table looking at the decisions made by 14 panelists (including Mueller and Davis) recently dropped from the WIPO rolls. Nothing too suspicious pops up -- that is, there doesn't seem to be any overwhelming tendency for pro-respondent panelists only to be dropped. But that's not to say that's not why Mueller and Davis were asked to leave the scene, I suppose -- anyone know anything more about this?"
[Note from MF: One issue would be why panelists drop off the list -- how many of the other 14 withdrew voluntarily and how many were unceremoniously fired as was Mueller, who was just dropped without even a polite note warning or thanking him.]
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