The participants in a Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) case may include the complainant, the respondent, a mediator and an independent expert. The expert may only be involved if the complainant chooses to pay to have the expert appointed for a full or summary decision. A panel of three experts may also be appointed if either party decides to appeal an expert decision.
The complainant is a person, organisation or business that believes a domain name registered by the respondent has been registered or used in a way which takes unfair advantage of their rights. For example, a complainant may object to a domain name that is identical or similar to their company name, trademark, trading name or personal name. It may be that the complainant believes the respondent is trying to unfairly take advantage of their name or that of their company.
The respondent is a person, organisation or business that has registered a domain name against which a complaint has been made. The respondent is bound by the DRS due to the Terms and Conditions of domain name registration, but is not obliged to take part in the process. However, responding to a DRS complaint represents the only chance to put a case to the independent Expert. The DRS will go ahead even if you do not take part. This does not automatically mean that you will lose. The complainant must prove certain things in their complaint, and if they fail to do this, the Expert will reject their complaint.
The mediator is a neutral third party appointed by us to try and help both parties reach a settlement. Mediation is conducted by telephone and is entirely confidential. The mediator will not divulge any information to either party unless one party expressly asks for their comments to be shared with the other party. All notes and correspondence are destroyed at the end of the process, regardless of whether a settlement has been reached or whether the case is to go to the expert or not.
The majority of DRS cases are resolved through mediation. However, we have a list of independent experts drawn mainly from legal or technical backgrounds, who can be appointed to decide on a DRS dispute. The experts are required to confirm that they are independent and have no conflict of interests with any of the parties before they are appointed.
The fee paid by the complainant or respondent for a decision is paid entirely to the expert. Nominet does not retain any of the fee.
Expert Review Group
The Expert Review Group is a subset of our most experienced experts. They review all full decisions made by our experts to ensure DRS decisions are of a consistent quality, though they do not interfere with the independence of the expert. The panel of three experts for appeals is also drawn from the members of the Expert Review Group.