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CNNIC rules for domain-name disputes

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


Article 1: These procedures are intended to solve disputes occurring with the registration and use of domain names in Chinese, in accordance with the law, administrative rules, regulations and policies and in reference to practices and rules of the international community on solving domain name disputes.

Article 2: The procedures are applicable to disputes of domain names in Chinese and trademarks protected by Chinese law under the following conditions: The disputed name shall be limited to one Chinese name chosen by the applicant as a domain name, for which the CNNIC is responsible for management and maintenance. Except for names certified as well-known trademarks, the agencies shall not accept disputes concerning domain names two years after the procedures take effect if they have been registered before the procedures take effect, and domain names two years after the registration if they are registered after the procedures take effect. Only agencies authorized by CNNIC for solving disputes on domain names in Chinese are entitled to the implementation of the procedures, which are binding only to parties involved in the dispute and the organization that provides the service of registering domain names in Chinese. An agency for solving domain name disputes shall only accept disputes between the owner of a trademark as the plaintiff and the holder of a domain name as the defendant. A dispute concerning the use of a trademark by the holder of domain name shall be solved through other channels.

Article 3: A Chinese domain-name dispute-solving agency (hereinafter referred to as "dispute-solving agency") shall be a nongovernmental organization that, approved and authorized by CNNIC, is in charge of the solving disputes concerning domain names in Chinese. The dispute-solving agency shall handle domain name disputes on the principles of independence, neutrality, rapidity and convenience and strictly observe provisions in the procedures for the solution of disputes on domain names in Chinese. To ensure an effective implementation of all provisions in the procedures, the dispute-solving agency shall make detailed procedures and rules, which shall be promulgated and implemented after being approved by CNNIC.

Article 4: The dispute-solving agency shall organize an expert panel to take charge of the solution of the dispute. Experts available for the option of the two parties concerned shall have an adequate knowledge about networks, intellectual property and law, have sound professional ethics, and able to make judgments independently and neutrally on the dispute of domain names. The list of experts shall be decided by the dispute-solving agency and made public online.

Article 5: The ruling made by the dispute-solving agency only involves changes of the registered domain name. It is not related to any other remedies or means, and shall be subordinated unconditionally to the ruling made by a judicial organ with jurisdiction or by an arbitration organization that have already taken legal effect.

Article 6: Any trademark owner who considers a registered domain name as an infringement on its trademark is entitled to complain to the dispute-solving agency and require the agency to rule according to the procedures in order to protect and realize its right.

Article 7: Complaint about a registered domain name is supported under the following prerequisites: The plaintiff enjoys the trademark right protected by law. The domain name in dispute is the same as the trademark, or is similar to the trademark to the extent that it causes confusion. The domain-name holder does not enjoy the trademark rights over the domain name or other character combinations including the domain name. Neither does the domain-name holder have other rights and interests protected by law. The domain-name holder registered the domain name with malice. The business of the plaintiff has been, or is likely to be, harmed by the registration and use of the domain name. The plaintiff shall provide evidence that all the above conditions exist simultaneously. If the authorities have already certified the trademark for which the plaintiff seeks protection as a well-known trademark, the plaintiff does not need to bear the burden of proof for the condition stated in item 5.

Article 8: Evidence used to prove that the registration and use of a domain name are malicious include but are not limited to the following: Intention of the domain-name holder to sell the domain name at an unreasonably high price exceeding the expenditure on the registration, thus making a profit. The domain-name holder registers the name to prevent the trademark owner from using its own trademark or part of it as a domain name. The domain-name holder, with the object of making profit, induces or misleads Internet users to visit the Web site of the domain name holder or other connected sites by deliberately creating a mark that can be confounded with the mark to which the trademark owner has the trademark right. A

rticle 9: In any one of the following cases proven by the domain-name holder with evidence, the malice related to the registration and use of a domain name shall not be affirmed: The domain-name holder and others closely related to the holder enjoy rights or interests protected by law over the sign that constitutes the domain name. The domain-name holder has legally used the domain name before the notification of a dispute, or the domain name holder has used a mark similar to the domain name with good intention while providing commodities or services, and has built reputation. The complaint of the trademark owner constitutes a "reverse domain name infringement."

Article 10: The "reverse domain name infringement" refers to a case where the trademark owner makes malicious use of the procedures for settling disputes on Chinese domain names for the purpose of depriving a legal domain name holder of the domain name. It involves but is not limited to the following situations: The registration and use of the domain name in dispute is neither ill-intended nor has produced adverse impact on the registered trademark or its owner, or such impact can be considered as a result of normal commercial competition. The plaintiff registered a different domain name before the registration of the disputed domain name and fails to provide the dispute-solving agency with adequate and convincing evidences to prove that reasons for not registering the domain name before are appropriate. When the domain name in dispute is registered, the trademark for which protection is requested neither has been registered in China nor has been identified as a well-known trademark by relevant authorities.

Article 11: The "use" of domain names mentioned in the procedures only refers to putting the registered domain name into operation?ausing it as an external code for a Web site to guide Internet users to a specific Web site or Web page through the analysis of the network system. The procedures do not apply to the use of domain names in the form not as an external code of a Web site including an identity label, product label, Web site and Web page label.

Article 12: A dispute-solving agency, on receiving a complaint from a plaintiff, shall organize an expert panel within prescribed time, and the expert panel shall handle the dispute according to legal procedures.

Article 13: If a plaintiff raises a dispute against a domain name holder who holds more than one domain name, both the plaintiff and the domain name holder have the right to request the dispute-solving agency to combine all the domain names into one case and be handled by the same expert panel.

Article 14: Before the ruling of the expert panel, if one party concerned believes that an expert in the panel has common interest with the other party, which may affect a fair ruling of the case, it has the right to file a request to the dispute-solving agency, requiring challenge to the expert.

Article 15: During the process of settling a domain name dispute, the domain name registry shall not participate in the process in any capacity or form except providing related information on the registration and use of the domain name as required by the dispute-solving agency.

Article 16: On the prerequisite that the complaint by the plaintiff is tenable, the ruling of the dispute-solving agency concerning a registered domain name is confined only to the following: Canceling the registered domain name Transferring the registered domain name to the plaintiff

Article 17: Before the complaint is made in accordance with the procedures, during the process of settling the dispute or after the experts make the ruling, both parties of the dispute can bring a lawsuit with the judicial body for the same dispute or submit the dispute to an arbitration organization based on an agreement. If the dispute-solving agency rules the cancellation of the registered domain name or the hand-over of the registered domain name to the plaintiff, the domain name registry shall wait 30 working days before executing the ruling. During this period, if effective evidences provided by the party concerned can prove that the judicial body with jurisdiction or the body of arbitration has accepted the related dispute, the domain name registry shall not execute the ruling by the dispute-solving agency and decide the next step to take according to following circumstances: To execute the ruling of the dispute-solving agency if the party bringing the lawsuit or submitting the dispute to arbitration has withdrawn the claim or complaint, or if the related claim or complaint has been rejected To execute the ruling, which, made by the judicial body or the body of arbitration that has accepted the dispute, has become effective To execute the agreement reached by the two parties of dispute after conciliation by the judicial body or the body of arbitration that has accepted the dispute, or the agreement reached by the two parties of dispute themselves

Article 18: The dispute-solving agency shall set up a special Web site to receive online domain name related complaints and publicize information concerning a domain name dispute. But upon the request of the party concerned, the material and information that the dispute-solving agency considers may impair the interests of the party concerned after being publicized shall not be made public.

Article 19: CNNIC has the right to revise the procedures in light of the development of Internet and domain name system as well as changes in related Chinese laws, administrative regulations and policies. The revised Procedures shall be made known to the public through the Web site and go into force 30 days from the date of promulgation. The new procedures do not apply to domain-name disputes that have been submitted to the dispute-solving agency before the revision of the procedures. The revised procedures shall automatically become a part of the existing protocol for domain name registration. Domain-name holders who are unwilling to accept the binding of these procedures or their amendments shall notify the domain name registry in a timely fashion. After the receipt of such notification, the domain-name registry shall retain 30 days' domain name service for them, and cancel related domain names after 30 days. Regarding domain-name transfer, the holder of a transferred domain name shall unconditionally accept all provisions of the agreement in force between the party that transfers the domain name and the domain-name registry.

Article 20: CNNIC is responsible for the interpretation of the procedures.

Article 21: The procedures shall go into force 30 days after promulgation.

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