back to article If Nominet has spoken, you can't come here – High Court

Those registering '.uk' domain names are not entitled to a fresh hearing in court to assess whether they have abusively registered those domains if the issue has already been determined through an industry dispute resolution service, the High Court has ruled. Nominet is the body responsible for .uk addresses and it operates a …

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Anonymous Coward

I'm surpised

I would have thought that it would be illegal to have a binding term that excludes the rights of a party from due process going to a Court of Law.

Presumably the Unfair Terms and Conditions Leglislation does apply to Natural Persons?

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Stop

Re: I'm surpised

That's not what the article said. Essentially it said you aren't entitled to appeal to the court on about an abusive registration ruling if you have already chosen to use Nominets arbitration.

Why should the court be asked to opine on something that has no legal dimension? No contractual terms were broken, no crimes were committed.

Essentially they were saying we are not going to become the court of appeal for Nominets resolution service just because you don't like the result.

You have to wonder what the guy had at stake that he thought was worth taking this to the high court about.

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Anonymous Coward

Suggest people google....

"Michael Toth domain squatter"

To say he has "history" is putting it mildly.

I'm quite surprised he hasn't been labelled a "vexatious litigant" - seems like the poster child for it from google results....

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Re: Suggest people google....

not much to be found.

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Anonymous Coward

What is next?

Domain registrars taking down domains on the say so of a media company? Oh wait....

The internet gate keepers appear to not have to follow laws of the land and instead of being independent now do the bidding of governments and large corporations.

Time for the internetz to create their own decentralized DNS system that is untouchable and takes away control from those who have had a monopoly.

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I do like High Court Judgements

It's a pleasure to read the Judge's reasoning, presented in a way that even a non-lawyer can understand the logic, even if you don't agree with the verdict.

It seems to me that the Judge has rightly said that the Nominet procedures for dispute resolution should take precendence over court action. David may have lost to Goliath in this case, but if every loser had a second go in court you can be sure that even if he had won under Nominet's rules he would probably have lost in court as Emirates would have had the resources to defeat him.

The only issue I have with this is that the judgement does not cover the need for redress if it can be shown that an Expert's decision was grossly incompetent or corrupt (absolutely no hint of that in this case, though). It would be nice to think that Nominet have a procedure to deal with that case.

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Anonymous Coward

It's a skewed system

When Mr Justice Mann said "Complainant would have no parallel opportunity to seek a declaration as an alternative to invoking the [dispute resolution service]" he was not taking into account the fact that the complainant can file under existing trademark/passing off law - the respondent has no such avenue available to them. So the DRS is by no means the end of the road for a complainant.

The DRS is already biased towards the complainant - they have as long as they need to file their initial complaint, the respondent has only 15 days to file their response. The complainant then has an opportunity to reply the to that respons, often introducing new arguments, but the respondent does not ordinarily have any right to reply or correct.

Then there's the problem of expert bias. With so many experts coming from the professions where trademark holders are important clients (http://www.nic.uk/disputes/drs/experts/expertpanel/) , it can't help but create an environment that favours them. Finding for a trademark holder, no matter how weak the case, is unlikely to affect the career prospects of an expert.

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Although juding from other comments may not be popular... I really think something has to be done about this "You cant go to court, its in the contract" trend. The courts should always be able to hear a case... I really dont like this privatised law stuff.

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(I'm not a lawyer, but...)

You always have the right to take a complaint to arbitration, which includes the civil courts, and to challenge a decision to a higher court if you feel that the decision was unfair, biased or corrupted.

It's in the laws covering arbitration.

You can also challenge a contract in court if you find it is being abused. That's in contract law.

In both cases, the findings of the previous court can and most likely will be taken into account. In this case, I'd expect the Judge saw the arbitration was carried out fairly and the claim being made to overturn it wasn't substantial enough to warrant the time and effort to do so.

Either way, the judgement was for this case only - it does not (and/or should not) preclude someone else challenging the results of an arbitration/complaints procedure, be it from Nominet or anyone else, so long as they have reasonable grounds for said challenge.

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@Chad H.

Yes and no. I believe that in any contract where you can show that all parties to the contract actively engaged in negotiating the contract, you should be able to have such a clause. It can benefit all parties by reducing costs, but it DOES require that 1) the arbitrator be truly neutral and 2) agreed to by all the parties prior to the actual dispute occurring.

However, "contracts" that are handed to you and you can sign it or walk are a whole other story. I think those should be summarily tossed and petitioner should have his day in court. And if it turns out that the petitioner is a troll, the court should treat him accordingly.

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Re: @Chad H.

@ Tom13 - Don't also forget "Competent" in your requirements, as RevK at Andrews and Arnoid has recently found out...

http://revk.www.me.uk/

(I really wish the Register would report on his woes with ADR....)

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Re: @Chad H.

If either of the parties is damn fool enough to not make sure the arbiter is competent, I'd really rather their money was taken from them and given to someone who won't make the same mistake. I know, I know; it's ironically Darwinian of me given that I don't actually believe in Evolution.

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Squatters

I declare I have a professional interest in the future of the emirates.co.uk domain.

Mr Toth is a squatter. Even El Reg thinks so:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/31/domain_name_associates/

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Anonymous Coward

"...Those registering '.uk' domain names..."

So, about a dozen people affected, then?

[Woot! —'basic' HTML supported. El Reg forums lumber triumphantly into the 1990s]

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For all this modernising... I still yearn for simplier times when El Reg didnt even have comments - of Flame of the Week I miss you!

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Devil

Privatised 'Appeals' boards

Seem to be carte du jour for the UK government starting late 90's. Rather than trouble the courts, let's just encourage you to 'appeal' through our completely neutral panel of experts made up of ex-patrons of the very companies/authority you're trying to defend yourself from.

That's why, whenever I'm given the option of an 'appeals process' or court, I choose court every time. If the other side knows they haven't got much of a case then merely the decision of going via court route causes them to weaken at the knees.

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