In the .nz domain name space, registrations are first-come, first-served. But what happens if someone has registered a domain name that you think you have the right to?
The Domain Name Commission administers a free-to-file Dispute Resolution Service, which is a convenient alternative to going to Court. Anyone who wants to dispute the registration of a domain name must prove two things.
First, that the disputed name is identical or similar to something that they have rights in, and second that the registration is unfair. If you think you have the rights in a domain name, that’s already been registered, here’s how the .nz Dispute Resolution Service works.
You start by filing a complaint, which is free, by visiting the Domain Name Commission website, and filling out an online form. The other party gets a chance to respond. If they do an independent mediator will bring you together to try and come to an agreement. Mediation is free, and is done online or over the phone. If the mediation is successful, that’s great, you’re sorted.
Sometimes, the other party chooses not to respond, or there’s no outcome from the mediation. If so, you can choose to have an ‘Expert Determination’, where an independent expert decides who should have the name. There is a fee for this service which goes to the Expert to cover their time.
The most likely outcome of this will be the domain name being transferred to you; or staying with the current registrant. If the Expert rules against you and you’re not satisfied, or if the current registrant isn’t happy, then the unhappy party can pay for an appeal, where a panel of three independent experts will come to a joint decision about who should have the name.
For more information, visit the Domain Name Commission website - dnc.org.nz