763 Complaints in 2018, Or 0.0063% Of .UK Domains: Nominet

Nominet’s annual report on the number of disputes over .uk domain names brought before their “award-winning Dispute Resolution Service” shows there were 763 complaints in 2018, which represented just 0.0063% of the 11,999,151 domain names on the register (as of 31 December 2018).

According to the report, just under half of the complaints (49%) in 2018 resulted in a domain transfer. In 2017, by comparison, 55% resulted in a domain transfer. The year also saw a decrease in the number of disputes resolved with the domain name being voluntarily transferred to the Complainant by the Respondent upon receipt of the complaint, but an increase in the number of complaints resolved through Mediation, up from 77 cases to 93. Of the complaints made in 2018, just a single Expert decision was appealed compared to three the previous year. The outcome upheld the original No Action finding.

“Our DRS is continuing to prove a useful tool for .UK customers and, importantly, is saving millions in court costs – over £6 million in 2018 and almost £180 million since the DRS was launched,” said Eleanor Bradley, Managing Director of Registry Solutions at Nominet. “The efficient and transparent method of resolving disputes is thanks to the many experts who generously offer their time and expertise, as well as the robust processes we have in place. The decrease in time taken to resolve cases across the board year on year is testament to this.”

Over the last 10 years the number of complaints has been consistent, with 2018 being the lowest number since 2010’s 679. The highest was 818 in 2012.

Of the case outcomes in 2018 97 were resolved by the parties, 93 were resolved through mediation, 136 by summary decision and 81 full decision. There was one appeal which was upheld, 75 complaints were invalid and 64 were withdrawn while for 117, the fees weren’t paid. There are 7 that are still open.

Brands such as Mastercard, Bloomberg Finance, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Rightmove and Superdry used the DRS in 2018. Other users of the service included The Royal British Legion, the Moulin Rouge, The Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, and the Westfield Sports Centre in Sheffield.

“As many .co.uk domain holders will be aware, the Right of Registration that some .co.uk Registrants held over the corresponding .uk domain name ended on 25 June 2019,” said Nick Wenban-Smith, General Counsel at Nominet. “Currently the number of second level .uk domains involved in disputes is low in proportion to the number of those domains registered, but we have increased capacity to deal with any increase in disputes should there be any concern now we are at the end of that period.”

Some of the highlights from the report noted by Nominet are:

  • In 2018 there was one appeal. The outcome upheld the original No Action finding.
  • The most common industries for Complainants were Banking & Finance (9),Automotive (8), Electronics (4), Education, Fashion, and Media & Publishing (all 3).
  • The year saw cases bought by complainants from 26 different countries, led by the UK (472) followed by the US (44), with France (18) and Germany (12) swapping places from the 2017 ranking
  • Respondents were more widely dispersed, coming from 41 different countries in 2018, up from the 34 recorded in 2017. The UK continues to lead with 504 respondents, with the US second (15) and China third (8).
  • The average length of time DRS cases take from being filed to being closed decreased from 57 to around 50 days
  • Cases being resolved by a Summary Expert decision took on average 58 days, compared to 62 in 2017, whilst Full Decision cases took on average 87 days, compared to 96 in 2017.
  • The majority of cases (90%) involved .co.uk domains, 5.1% were .uk domains, 4.6% were .org.uk, and 0.1% were .me.uk

Court costs avoided in 2018 were over £6 million – assuming court and legal fee savings of £15k per complaint that progresses into formal dispute resolution (Court costs avoided are assuming court & legal fee savings of £15,000 per complaint that progresses into formal dispute resolution).

To download the report in full, go to: https://media.nominet.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2018-in-UK-web-domain-dispute-resolution.pdf