China has modelled its domain dispute resolution procedure (cnDRP) along the same lines as the Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). To be successful in a cnDRP complaint a trade mark owner must prove all three elements below:

(1) The domain is identical or confusingly similar to a name or mark in which the Complainant has civil rights or interests;

(2) The Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of a domain; and

(3) The domain was registered or used in bad faith.

The UDRP and cnDRP differ on the third element as the UDRP requires the domain to be registered AND used in bad faith. The words “AND” “OR” do have implications when drafting a domain complaint but a lot has been written about this difference over the years, so it is not necessary to rehash it at this point.

Three Years

What is a concern, and worthy of discussion, is the time limit imposed by the cnDRP.

A cnDRP can only be relied upon within the first three years of a registration of a .cn domain. After the three years pass the domain can only be recovered via the local court system which is expensive and time-consuming.

Domain squatters, in the .cn domain world, are well aware of this three-year period. After that period has passed, they are awakened and blatantly offer the domain, for an exorbitant sum, to the trade mark owner knowing an acquisition is the most practical and cost-effective solution to resolve the matter.

Watch Your Language

Article 8 of the cnDRP provides that “unless otherwise agreed by the Parties or determined in exceptional cases by the Panel, the language of the domain dispute resolution proceedings shall be Chinese”.

We have successfully argued our clients .cn complaints in English by establishing that the Respondent is well versed or understands English sufficiently for our client not to translate the complaint into Chinese. This argument and others supported by evidence avoids translation costs as well as potentially briefing local counsel.

Conclusion

  1. When a .cn domain dispute is identified take note of the domain registration date so a complaint can be filed within the prescribed time limit.
  2. Gather evidence to argue your complaint in English.

Reach out to us at brandprotection@lexsynergy.com if you need assistance with a .cn complaint or in other jurisdictions.