Penalty for URS Misuse is Not Sufficient!
Dear ICANN - The penalites outlined in the new gTLD guidebook are not sufficient in regard to misuse of the URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension) process. While the general section on URS is fairly comprehensive & well written, the part devoted to penalties for misuse of the process is lacking, and will not sufficiently deter abusive complainants. Specifically, here ... "The URS shall incorporate penalties for abuse of the process by trademark holders. (11.2) In the event a party is deemed to have filed two (2) abusive Complaints, or one (1) "deliberate material falsehood," that party shall be barred from utilizing the URS for one-year." Barring abuse of the URS process for "one year" is monumentally inadequate, particularly in lieu of the paltry $300 fee required for launching a URS claim. There should be a substantial financial penalty and PERMANENT ban (on first attempt) for any complainant found to have used the URS without cause. The guidebook requires, in regard to complainant claims, that: 8.2 The burden of proof shall be clear and convincing evidence. Perhaps this is already the guidebook's intention, but the URS Examiner should receive "clear and convincing evidence" before any registrant is burdened with a claim & required to defend themselves. With the URS process being so cheap to launch (USD $300), and the penalty for misuse so light, Examiners must be certain there is a solid case on which to move forward before registrants are even contacted or inconvenienced in any way. The newly proposed URS is obviously designed to offer true trademark holders some protection from cybersquatters. No problem with that. But there must be an equal impetus to protect innocent domain name registrants from domain thieves and overzealous companies (trademark holders) who think they have right to any domain that is remotely associated with their industry or business. As is currently written, the proposed penalties for URS misuse are inconsequential, and they should be rewritten to ensure that first time abusers lose all rights to ever utilize the URS process again. A one year ban is nowhere close to adequate. The ban should be: 1. much longer, and 2. with specific financial penalty attached. Thank you for considering these comments. Sincerely, Max Menius, President Menius Enterprises, Inc.