Dispute Resolution Service FAQ's
Domain Name Disputes
What can I do if I’m unsure of the other party’s contact details?
The contact details of the registrant are available through the WHOIS registry. We have put together a guide on how to find these details.
Where can I get free legal advice?
There are a lot of law firms and organisations that offer either initial advice or completely free legal advice. You can check out Community Law Centres who offer a free and independent service to all.
What if my matter becomes subject to legal proceedings after I submit a domain dispute application?
The matter is suspended as soon as DNCL is informed of any court action. This is regardless of the state of the matter. DNCL will advise all parties of the court action and advise that the case is suspended until it has been resolved or withdrawn.
How do I decide who to list as the applying party (me personally or the business that I am submitting the complaint on behalf of?)
There are a couple of key things to consider when determining who a party is:
- Will the domain name registration be in the name of an entity /organisation/ company?
- Who is the person who has the authority to mediate and settle. Take legal advice on this issue if you are unsure.
How long does the DRS process take to complete?
There are several stages to the process. Timeframes for each stage are outlined in the .nz Dispute Resolution Service policy.
Expert Determination Process
What is an “unfair registration”?
In brief, an unfair registration is when a current domain name registration or a continuation of a registration can affect you, your business, or your rights in an unfair way.
Namely, the domain name:
- was registered or otherwise acquired in a manner which, at the time when the registration or acquisition took place, took unfair advantage of or was unfairly detrimental to the Complainant's Rights; OR
- has been, or is likely to be, used in a manner which took unfair advantage of or was unfairly detrimental to the Complainant's Rights;
For a full definition please read the .nz Dispute Resolution Service policy. For a non-exhaustive list of unfair registration definitions, please read section 5 of the policy.
How do I know if I have ‘rights’ to a domain name?
If you apply for expert determination you are asked to provide evidence to prove your rights to the domain name in question. Examples include: trademark, registration, a license to the name, a term in an agreement, or extensive usage leading to market reputation or goodwill associated with the domain name - known as ‘common law right’.
What is meant by “the name or mark which is similar to or identical to the disputed domain name”? Is this the domain name I own?
This refers to the name or mark that you have rights to. This could be a trademark that you have registered or a business name that you have used to build up a reputation that you believe gives you “common law rights”.
Does DNCL decide on the outcome of my complaint?
The DNCL administers the dispute resolution service but does not decide on the outcome of the matter. We have a panel of experts that are responsible for this. To find out more about our expert panel, feel free to look through the list on our website.
What are the fees involved in the expert determination process?
It costs $2,000.00 (plus GST) for an expert to decide on a matter and determine an outcome. Payment is required before an expert will consider a matter.
How long does an expert determination process take?
Once the Expert has received all the relevant information, the expert has ten (10) working days to finalise the decision.
Can any costs be awarded by the expert?
No. The purpose of our dispute resolution service is to provide a quick and inexpensive means of obtaining redress regarding the domain name. If costs are sought, then consideration should be made to court action.
How does the domain name change if the expert said it should?
If a decision to transfer the name has not been appealed within 10 working days, or if a transfer is the outcome of an appeal then DNCL makes the required changes to the domain name registration. This included the Registrant Contact Name and the registrar if required. Once this has been done DNCL informs all parties, Complaints, Respondent, and the relevant Registrars.
Do I need a representative to lodge a complaint to be decided by an expert?
No, you do not need a representative.
What happens if the respondent does not engage or respond to my complaint?
If the other party does not respond to your application within the time frame, you can pay for an expert to make a decision on the matter. Find out more about this process here
Conflicted Domain Names
How do you change your preference for a conflicted domain name?
To learn how to change your preference, click here.
The other party doesn’t appear to be using their conflicted .nz domain name. Why can’t I automatically get the shorter name?
In the .nz domain name space, registrants are under no obligation to ‘use’ a domain name they’ve registered - e.g. for a website or email address. This includes those involved in a conflict set.
Until a conflicted name is resolved – that is, when all those involved have lodged their preference at www.dnc.org.nz for who should get the shorter name – it will be unavailable for registration or use.
I hold a trade mark registration in my name, why can’t I get the conflicted name automatically?
Within the .nz domain name space, no preference is given to people who have rights in a name (such as a company or trademark owner).
However, anyone who believes they have rights to a .nz domain name that someone else has registered can use the free-to-file Dispute Resolution Service (DRS). Information about this service can be found here.
Who implements the agreed change of preference or a transfer of a domain name?
The parties are responsible for fulfilling the agreed outcomes. The party responsible for transferring will need to transfer the domain name to the other party. If you want to learn more about transferring domain name registrations, read our guide here. If an agreement provides for a change of preference, learn how to do so here.
Does DNCL enforce Settlement Agreements?
If a party fails to uphold a signed written settlement, DNCL can assist - at DNCL’s absolute discretion - if the following conditions are met:
- DNCL is provided with a copy of the settlement agreement, and
- DNCL receives evidence that payment has been made by a paying party as per the agreement,
- The non-performing party had agreed to perform a transfer or change of preference.
Where those conditions are met, DNCL may determine to activate a transfer at the registry or a change of preference. DNCL is not obliged to intervene in a transfer and may refer the parties to the Courts to enforce their agreement.