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Disputes - where it's .at

16th April, 2003

This month the Austrian naming authority have launched a dispute resolution system to handle clashes over .at domains. The new service is designed to provide a quick, cost-effective alternative to legal proceedings. 

After extensive consultations with the Austrian Internet community, the non-profit Internet Private Foundation Austria (IPA) - owner of the naming authority - has set up a new arbitration office. The dispute system for dot-at is broadly based on the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), currently used for some generic top level domains, and on the systems used in other countries such as the UK and Belgium. 

Anyone who believes they have rights to an existing dot-at domain name may submit a complaint to the arbitration office. As with the UDRP, the complainant is responsible for paying the costs which are capped at EUR 1,000 (GBP 680). On receipt of a complaint, the naming authority will put the domain name on 'registrar lock' to ensure that it cannot be moved or the registrant changed. The current registrant is then informed of the complaint and invited to file a response. At this point either the complainant or respondent can decide whether to have the case heard by one or three arbiters. Decisions will be produced within three months and costs are not awarded against either party. 

Austria has seen a growing number of domain disputes in recent times, but before the new system these could only be resolved by its national courts. As with other jurisdictions, Austrians found that existing trade mark law simply did not map on to the domain name system and so an alternative, independent arbitration procedure had to be found. 

Details at:








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