Friday, 7 December 2012

Nominet DRS: Experts' decision final

Toth v Emirates & Anor [2012] EWHC 517 (Ch) (07 March 2012) is pretty old hat by now, especially as the first instance decision of HHJ Birss QC in the Patents County Court (this High Court case being an appeal) was last year. The High Court (Mann J) held that it was not possible to litigate matters reserved to an Expert (with appeal to a Panel of Experts) under the Dispute Resolution Service Policy operated by Nominet and accepted by all registrants as a condition of registering their domain names. However, I haven't blogged about it yet and it's important enough to merit a belated entry here.

Although the DRS clearly anticipates that domain name disputes might go to court (and for example provides that Nominet will stay enforcement if litigation commences) that doesn't mean that the court can review the Experts' decisions. The door was deliberately left open in the DRS for a trade mark infringement or passing off action to be brought, but not for a declaration such as that sought by Mr Toth - and which could, were that view correct, have the effect of staying enforcement of the Expert's award indefinitely.

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