Gatwick goings-on
Date: Thursday October 28 2004, @11:10AM
Topic: Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)

Back in 2001, Michael Geist examined the case allocation data, and concluded that WIPO's UDRP panelist selection process was "heavily biased toward ensuring that a majority of cases are steered toward complainant-friendly panelists." Now comes The Register's Kieren McCarthy, with the news that nothing has changed.

McCarthy's story concerns British airport operator BAA's attempt to divest one Bob Larkin of the domain Larkin paid for a three-person panel, in which the complainant chooses one panelist, and respondent another, and WIPO provides a list of five from which the parties choose a third. Complainants, natch, tend to pick panelists who they think will be sympathetic to them; respondents do the same. The third panelist, in theory, is the neutral. In this case, WIPO's list of five wasn't well-vetted. It included a lawyer who had already been disqualified for conflict of interest; when WIPO finally replaced her on the list, it picked a lawyer who had represented BAA in a different domain dispute. More fundamentally, four of the five on the list had been chosen repeatedly by complainants in the past, and never by respondents; the fifth had never been chosen by either, but had ruled for complainants in 88% of the cases he had sat on as a single panelist.

There aren't that many WIPO panelists out there who rule more often for respondents than for complainants. (That may have a lot to do with how WIPO screens its panelists to begin with.) As of 2002, when Prof. Geist last compiled the data, there were no more than 20 people on WIPO's panelist list who had sat on at least two domain-name disputes, and had ruled for respondent in more than half. (They included ICANNwatch's own Milton Mueller and Michael Froomkin.) At least two of the group had never been chosen by WIPO for a single-member panel, and had participated solely by virtue of having been chosen by respondents for three-member panels; none was in the elite group of 120+ whom WIPO had tapped for single-member panels five times or more. WIPO may now have caught on that if it declines to list these folks for three-member panels either, it need not worry about their ever participating in cases and bollixing up the domain-name works.

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gatwick goings-on
by para_dan on Thursday October 28 2004, @11:59PM (#14392)
User #4024 Info
The Register article raises some interesting questions regarding WIPO rulings precedents being set by the decision of Prof. Cornish in the cases of and That is to say Prof. Cornish didn't follow the wording of the UDRP to the letter. The case of as arbitrated by Michael Froomkin and Gordon Harris shows what happens in these cases when the UDRP wording is followed exactly - the complainant loses. Wonder what the chances are of that decision setting a WIPO precedent...?
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
by jberryhill on Saturday November 06 2004, @02:29PM (#14428)
User #3013 Info
There aren't that many WIPO panelists out there who rule more often for respondents than for complainants. (That may have a lot to do with how WIPO screens its panelists to begin with.) I fail to understand the significance of that statement. UDRP complaints are not filed against a random sample of domain names. UDRP complaints are filed against a subfractional percent of domain names where at least someone thinks there is a grounds for a dispute. A substantial proportion of those cases are defaults by the domain registrant. In the majority of cases where the respond (a) responds, and (b) selects a three member panel, the respondent prevails (65% of the time by Milton Mueller's reckoning). I completely fail to understand what the win/loss ratio, apart from any other considerations, says about whether the process is "fair". Guess what? Most criminal juries find the defendant guilty. Does that mean juries are biased? Now, the conclusions about panelist selection may be correct here. But that doesn't justify the use of outstandingly stupid logic.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
  • Re:Dumbth by jon Thursday November 18 2004, @09:54AM
By the way
by jberryhill on Wednesday November 17 2004, @07:51AM (#14443)
User #3013 Info

The case was decided in favor of the domain name registrant, for those interested in facts.

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