cnDRP: Two-Year Time Bar Extended to Three
On June 18th 2019, CNNIC announced that the ccTLD Dispute Resolution Policy (cnDRP), which regulates Chinese extensions such as ‘.cn’ and ‘.中国’ (China in Chinese characters), was revised and took effect on the same day. In particular, the new Article 2 states that ‘the Dispute Resolution Service Providers do not accept the Complaint regarding domain names with registration term of over Three years’ where it was two years in the previous policy.
This amendment is highly likely to be based on the three-year bar deriving from general Chinese civil actions, in specific the General Civil Law Rules of the People’s Republic of China. The time bar of general civil actions was extended from two years to three years on March 2017, after which the current amendment of cnDRP follows.
It is worth noting that a case under cnDRP (case number: DCN-1500641) has arguably shown that the transfer of a ‘.cn’ domain name can amount to a new registration and hence resetting the time bar (back then was two-year).
Overall, we can begin to except that complaining parties will have more scope to file complaints for Chinese domain names. This change would be obviously welcomed by brand owners since cnDRP is much more cost effective than a litigation, the only option other than purchasing after the expiration of the time bar.
A suggestion for brand owners would be to closely monitor domain names that are relevant to their trademark portfolio, so as to avoid spending additional costs for Chinese domain name disputes.
If you need specific advice on the three-year time bar or Chinese domain names, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.