• Lukáš Pelcman

Unstoppable domains as a challenge to UDRP?

Imagine a domain name that is truly owned by its registrant and no authority (such as ICANN or national registries) may effectively enforce the transfer of such a domain following either UDRP or other alternative dispute resolution mechanism. That is the case of the so called ‘unstoppable domains’ (see here).

The unstoppable domains work outside of the current domain-name system (DNS) and therefore are outside of the reach of any traditional Internet authority. Individual domains are registered on the blockchain and are held by their respective holders who control the private keys of the wallet in which the domain is being stored, much like bitcoin. As of now, only domains <.crypto> and <.zil> may be registered but perhaps more choices are to be expexted in the future.

In any way, should we observe a proliferation of such unstoppable domains, it may very well get the existing systems for domain dispute resolutions in trouble. Without having any central authority to be able to enforce transfers and cancellations of unstoppable domains (which actually seems to be the point), right-holders would have to recourse to a traditional (legacy) court system to fight against any unstoppable domain having incorporated their protected sign. However, reyling on courts in domain-related matters may be problematic, all the more considering the unstoppable domains’ nature. There appears to be some sort of a sunrise period, during which trademark owners may claim particular domain; though such an arrangement is always more of a temporary solution. The solution of how to effectively deal with ustoppable domain disputes after the lapse of the sunrise period is therefore yet to be found.


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