Domain Dispute

General

What is the Singapore Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy?

The Singapore Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (SDRP) is a framework for resolving “.sg” domain name disputes between a “.sg” domain name registrant and any party other than SGNIC. The purpose of the SDRP is to provide a cheaper and quicker mechanism than court proceedings for parties to resolve disputes concerning the use of domain names.

How does the SDRP work?

A party who disputes a “.sg” domain name registration has to lodge a complaint with the SDRP Secretariat. The Secretariat is jointly set up by the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) and Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). The Secretariat will appoint an administrative panel for the dispute to be resolved through an administrative proceeding. If the parties agree to resolve the dispute by mediation, the administrative panel will facilitate discussions between the parties to help them resolve the dispute amicably. If either party does not agree to mediation, or if the parties are unable to resolve the dispute amicably through mediation, the administrative panel will decide the dispute.

The decision of the administrative panel will be implemented by SGNIC, unless a party is dissatisfied with the panel’s decision and applies to the court for the dispute to be decided by the court.

More information on the SDRP can be found at http://www.disputemanager.com.sg

What should I do as an existing registrant of a ".sg" domain name?

Existing registrants are not required to do anything. If there has been no challenge by a party against the use of the domain name by the registrant, there is no dispute. The registrant can continue to use the domain name.

Will my existing domain name be affected?

Your existing domain name will not be affected unless your use of your domain name has previously been or is currently being challenged. Should this happen, the complainant has to follow the procedure in the SDRP to lodge a complaint. Only when the complaint is found to be valid and your usage of the domain name is found to be illegitimate will your domain name be affected.

What should I do to prevent any disputes from occurring if I am going to register a domain name?

It would be advisable to first check the availability of a proposed domain name on the SGNIC website using the WHOIS function. You should also try to ensure that the domain name you choose does not infringe the rights of any other parties. That means the domain name you applied for:

  • does not infringe any registered trade mark in Singapore;
  • is not identical to or confusingly similar with either a registered trade mark, or a company or business name in Singapore; and
  • does not infringe the rights of any third parties in relation to any applicable treaties or international agreements.
How can I know if the domain name I am using has run into a dispute with another party?

You would receive a ‘Complaint Transmittal Coversheet’ from both the SDRP Secretariat and the party who has disputed your use of your domain name (the Complainant). The Coversheet will inform you that a complaint has been filed against your domain name registration.

Is there any fee involved and who has to pay for the fee?

The party who lodges the complaint and initiates the dispute resolution procedure will have to pay the fee. The fee has to be paid to the Secretariat and the amount involved would depend on the choice of single panellist or three panellists and the number of domain names included in the complaint. The fee schedule is as follows:

For Single Panellist

Number of domain names included
in the Complaint
Fee (in Singapore dollars)
1 to 5 2,750
6 to 10 3,500
11 to 15 4,250
More than 15 To be decided in consultation with the Secretariat

For Three Panellists

Number of domain names included in the Complaint Fee (in Singapore dollars)
1 to 5 5,500
6 to 10 7,000
11 to 15 8,500
More than 15 To be decided in consultation with the Secretariat

More information on the fee schedule is available at http://www.disputemanager.com.sg

Does it mean I cannot start a court proceeding?

No, you can still do so. However, a court proceeding should not be initiated while an administrative proceeding is pending.

Can I start the court proceeding and the SDRP process at the same time?

No. Though parties are not prevented from submitting dispute to court, they should not commence any court proceedings while an administrative proceeding is pending.
If court proceedings are initiated before administrative proceeding is commenced, the Administrative Panel shall decide whether to suspend or terminate the administrative proceeding or proceed to a decision.

Am I required to pay an additional amount to be part of this additional service?

No, fees for domain name administrative proceedings are borne by the complainant. Registrants do not need to pay the fee. The only situation when administrative proceeding fees are collected from the registrant is when the complainant requests for a one-member panel and the registrant wants a three-member panel. In this instance, the fees are equally shared between the parties.

Can I make use of the SDRP if I have a complaint to raise against a non ".sg" domain name?

No, you cannot. The SDRP Framework covers “.sg” domain name disputes only. To raise a complaint against a non ".sg" domain name, you will have to lodge the complaint with the Dispute Resolution Service Provider appointed by the relevant foreign registry, follow the dispute procedures they have implemented and pay the stipulated fees.

Can SGNIC check whether a “.sg” domain name application is in conflict with other non ".sg" domain names? If not, why?

No, SGNIC is not able to do so. The Internet infrastructure does not allow a domain name system to make an exhaustive check for identical domain names in all domain name spaces because domain name information maintained by each domain name registry is kept in different databases. It is therefore technically impossible for SGNIC to check whether a “.sg” domain name application is in conflict with other non ".sg" domain names.

Can SGNIC check any infringement of “.sg” domain name against other trademark registrations?

No. SGNIC was formed as a private company to perform a technical role of administering a domain name registry. It is not a national authority and has no mandate to administer the trademark registration and protection.

To check whether a domain name is registered as a trademark in Singapore, you could approach the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) at http://www.ipos.gov.sg.