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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Rules for Domain-Names Disputes

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Procedures for solving disputes on domain names in Chinese (trial measures)

Article 1
These rules have been enacted in accordance with relevant laws, administrative regulations and policies of China and with reference to the corresponding rules and practice of the international community in resolving domain name disputes, to make provisions for resolving disputes that may arise from the registration and use of the Chinese domain names.



Article 2
These rules shall be applicable to those disputes between Chinese domain names and trademarks protected under Chinese law, subject to the following conditions.

1) The complained domain names are limited to those referred to by applicants, administrated and maintained by China Internet Network Information Center (hereinafter referred to as CNNIC).

2) Unless the subject marks seeking for protection have been determined by the authority concerned as well-known trademarks, the Dispute Resolution Institute shall not take cognizance of the disputes in relation to domain names, which were registered before the enforcement of these rules until the expiration of two years counting from the date these rules enter into force and which is registered after the enforcement of these rules until expiration of 2 years counting from the date of registration.

3) These rules shall be implemented by the Domain Name Dispute Resolution Institute under approval and authorization of CNNIC and have binding force only to the disputing parties of disputes and the domain name registration service authority.

4) The Chinese Domain Name Dispute Resolution Institute shall only take cognizance of those disputes between trademark owners acting as complainants and domain name owners acting as defendants. Any domain name owner disputing the use of a trademark may seek resolution in other ways.



Article 3
The Chinese Domain Name Dispute Resolution Institute (hereinafter referred to as Dispute Resolution Institute) is a non-governmental institute based on approval and authorization of CNNIC and is responsible for the resolution of Chinese domain name disputes in accordance with the provisions of these rules. The Dispute Resolution Institute shall handle domain name disputes independently, fairly and quickly and shall strictly abide by relevant provisions of these Rules. To ensure the effective enforcement of the provisions of these rules, the Dispute Resolution Institute shall formulate detailed procedure rules, which shall enter into force after approval and promulgation by CNNIC.

Article 4
The Dispute Resolution Institute shall maintain a panel of experts to handle disputes. The experts available for choice by the interested parties shall be special knowledge in the fields of network, intellectual property and law, have a full sense of profession ethics and are competent in making independent and fair adjudication in domain name disputes. The panel of expert shall be selected and appointed and widely publicized on-line by the Dispute Resolution Institute.

Article 5
The adjudication of the Dispute Resolution Institute may only involve the change of the status quo with regard to the domain names, exclusive of any other remedies or means of relief, and shall unconditionally observe the legally effective adjudications or awards made by competent judicial or arbitral organs.

Article 6
Any trademark owner whose trademark rights are infringed by a registered domain name may file a complaint with the Dispute Resolution Institute, requesting for adjudication according to these Rules in order to protect their rights.

Article 7
The prerequisites for supporting a complaint against a registered domain name are as follows:

1) A complainant has trademark rights conferred by registration according to the law;

2) A complained domain name is identical with or confusingly similar to a registered trademark;

3) A domain name owner has no trademark rights under a domain name or under letters and symbols combined with a domain name, nor has he/she other legitimate rights or interests;

4) A domain name was registered and has been used in bad faith;

5) The business of a complainant has been or will most probably be disrupted by the registration and use of a domain name.

The complainant shall provide effective evidence prove that all the aforesaid prerequisites are fulfilled.

Where a trademark asking for protection has been determined by relevant authority as well-known trademarks, no evidence is required for the 5th prerequisite set out in the preceding paragraph.

Article 8
The evidence to prove that a domain name has been no bone fide registration and use include, but not limited to, the following circumstances:

1) A domain name owner has ever offered for sale his/her domain name in a sum that unreasonably exceeds the expenses paid for the domain name registration for a purpose of making profit;

2) The registration of a domain name is not for use but for preventing trademark owners from registering their trademarks or part of their trademarks as domain names;

3) A domain name is registered in order to attract and mislead, for commercial gain, internet users to visit a web site under the domain name or other web sites accessible through it by creating a likelihood of confusion between the disputed domain names and the trademarks to which the complainants enjoy legal rights.

Article 9
In case evidence provided by a domain name owner verifies one of the following circumstances, the registration and use of a domain name in bad faith shall not be taken into account:

1) A domain name owner or a person having close relation with him/her has legitimate rights or interests in the mark, which forms the domain name.

2) Before receipt of the notification of dispute, a domain name owner has honestly used the disputed domain name or in the course of providing goods or services under a mark identical to the disputed domain name in good faith, and this mark has thereby acquired a fair degree of reputation.

3) Complaints filed by trademark owners constitute "reverse domain name hijacking".

Article 10
A trademark owner, who takes advantage of the dispute-resolution procedure in bad faith intent to hijack a domain name possessed by its legitimate owner, constitutes " reverse domain name hijacking". It includes, but not limited to, the following circumstances:

1) A domain name in dispute has been registered and being used with no bad faith and has caused no negative influence to any other registered trademark, or if any, such influence is normal business competition.

2) Before the registration of a complained domain name, the complainant has registered other completely different domain names and fails to provide evidence to the Dispute Resolution Institute, which is sufficient to justify proper reasons why the domain name in dispute was not registered at that time;

3) When the domain name in dispute was registered, the trademark asking for protection had not been registered in China, nor had it been determined by the competent authority as a well-known trademark.

Article 11
In the Rules, "use of domain name" means that the registered domain name has been put into operation as outside codes of websites, leading network users to a particular website through the network system analysis. It shall not be interpreted as "use of domain name" under these rules if a domain name is used in the forms of identity sign, product sign, website and web page sign or other non-network outside code.

Article 12
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Dispute Resolution Institute shall within prescribed time form a panel of experts to hear the dispute in accordance with the prescribed procedure.

Article 13
In case a complainant files multiple disputes against several domain names owned by one and the same domain name owner, both the complainant and the domain name owner are entitled to request the Dispute Resolution Institute to combine several domain name disputes into one case and to be heard by one and the same panel of experts.

Article 14
Before adjudication is made by the panel of experts, either interested party may make a request to the Dispute Resolution Institute for the withdrawal of any expert if the interested party believes that the expert has personal interest with the other party and would probably cause unfair adjudication of the dispute.

Article 15
In the course of dispute resolution, domain name registration service providing institutes may not take part in the resolution procedure in any capacity or by any means,except providing information on the registration and use of a domain name upon the request of the Dispute Resolution Institute.

Article 16
Based on the premise that a complaint has been held established, the resolution results by the Dispute Resolution Institute shall be confined to:

  1,Cancellation of the registered domain name;

  2,Transfer of the domain name to the complainant;



Article 17
Either interested party in the dispute may institute legal proceedings for the same dispute before the judicial organ or arbitral body based upon an arbitration agreement concluded by the parties, their agreement,before the raise of a complaint under these rules,or in the course of resolution procedure or after the making of adjudication by the panel of experts. If the Dispute Resolution Institute decides that the domain name shall be cancelled or transferred to the complainant, the domain name registration service institute shall grant a stay of 30 working days before execution of the adjudication. During the period of stay, if the interested parties provide effective evidence to prove that the competent judicial or arbitrative department has accepted to handle the dispute concerned,the domain name registration service institute shall not enforce the adjudication made by the Dispute Resolution Institute and decide the next action in accordance with the following circumstances:

The adjudication made by the Dispute Resolution Institute shall be enforced in case one of the interested parties, who institutes the legal proceedings or submits for arbitration, withdraws his/her request, or his/her request for the legal and arbitration proceedings are refused.

If the adjudication made by the judicial organ or award made by the arbitration body has become effective, the adjudication or the award shall be enforced.

In case the interested parties conclude a settlement agreement through conciliation conducted by the judicial organ or arbitral body handling the dispute or an amicable settlement has been reached by the parties themselves, the agreement shall be enforced.

Article 18
The Dispute Resolution Institute shall establish a special website to receive domain name disputes on-line and publicize all relevant information in connection with the disputes. But upon request of the interested parties, the Dispute Resolution Institute may not publicize any information, if the publication thereof is believed to cause possible damages to the interested parties.

Article 19
The CNNIC is entitled to make any amendments to these rules in accordance with the development of the network and domain name system and changes of relevant laws,administrative regulations and policies in China. The amended Rules shall be promulgated on-line and shall enter into force after 30 days of promulgation thereof. The new Rules shall not be applicable to those domain name disputes that have been submitted to the Dispute Resolution Institute before the amendments of these Rules.

The amendments shall be automatically incorporated into the all-existent domain name registration agreement. Domain name owners who do not wish to be bound by the Dispute Resolution or its amendments shall notify the domain name registration institute timely. Upon receipt of the notice, the domain name registration service institute shall continue its service for 30 days and cancel it afterwards.

With regard to the assignment of domain names, the assignee shall unconditionally comply with all-existent agreements that have been concluded between the assignors and the domain name registration service institute.

Article 20
The CNNIC shall be responsible for interpretation of these Rules.

Article 21
These rules shall enter into force 30 days after the promulgation thereof.

Source: Ministry of Commerce Website

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