B.C. expands global role in internet domain name disputes

The Canadian International Internet Dispute Resolution Centre expects to begin handling disputes over domain names like .com and .org by October | Shutterstock

What happened: Vancouver will soon be one of a select number of cities handling disputes over domain names such as .com or .org

Why it matters: The new designation is poised to boost Vancouver’s reputation for international arbitration

Disputes over domain names featuring .ca are old hat for one Vancouver organization mandated to handle these cases domestically.

But now a division of the B.C. International Commercial Arbitration Centre (BCICAC) will be flexing its dispute-resolution muscles on a global level.

The BCICAC announced Thursday (May 16) that the Canadian International Internet Dispute Resolution Centre (CIIDRC) has been accepted by an internationally recognized governing body for the internet to handle domain name disputes.

The CIIDRC is only the second organization in the Western Hemisphere to get the nod from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to handle dispute resolutions for the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

While the BCICAC has long handled disputes over .ca domain names, the CIIDRC will be handling cases involving top-level domain names like .com, .org and .net.

Currently the only organization in the Western Hemisphere to take on these disputes is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“There’s a lot of, can I say skepticism, over disputes being resolved in the United States by parties who are not American,” BCICAC interim chairman Leslie Maerov told Business in Vancouver.

“Canada has a well-earned reputation for being neutral where we respect the rule of law, so we see ourselves as a natural alternative to any of the other arbitration dispute resolution centres.”

After making an application to ICANN more than a year ago, Maerov expects the CIIDRC will be handling cases by October, pending final approval.

“We’re trying to develop the international component of our business and having the exposure of being an ICANN-approved party … is really important,” he said.

“People [will] become more aware that Vancouver is a very good venue for international arbitration.”

He added that his organization will need to develop a new website and, depending on the volume of cases it receives, possibly expand its roster.

Outside the Western Hemisphere, domain name disputes are handled by organizations in a limited number of cities: World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, the Czech Arbitration Court in Prague, the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre in Hong Kong and Beijing, and the Arab Center for Domain Name Dispute Resolution in Amman, Jordan.