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Unsponsored TLD Agreement: Appendix M (.pro)
Posted: 27 April 2002


Enforcement of Registration Restrictions

I. UNIFORM DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY

1. General Information. All Authorized Registrars will follow the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (the "UDRP") to resolve the types of trademark-based domain-name disputes covered by the UDRP. (As used in this Appendix M, the term "Authorized Registrar" refers to a registrar accredited by ICANN for the .pro TLD that has entered into, and has currently in effect, the Registry-Registrar Agreement (Appendix F).) The UDRP is set forth in documents published by ICANN. The description of the UDRP in this Appendix is not authoritative and is provided for convenience only.

2. Principal Documents. The following documents provide relevant details:

2.1 Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. This policy is followed by all ICANN-Accredited Registrars. It can be found at: http://www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/policy.htm

2.2 Rules for Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. These rules are followed by all dispute-resolution service providers, with supplementation by each provider's supplemental rules. This can be found at: http://www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/uniform-rules.htm

2.3 List of Approved Dispute-Resolution Service Providers. This list can be found at: http://www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/approved-providers.htm

2.4 Information Concerning Approval Process for Dispute-Resolution Service Providers. This information can be found at: http://www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/provider-approval-process.htm

II. QUALIFICATION CHALLENGE POLICY

1. Qualification Challenges.

1.1 General Information. All Authorized Registrars will be subject to the outcome of the "Qualification Challenge Procedures" set forth in this Section II. Under the Qualification Challenge Procedures, disputes challenging a registrant's qualifications, as set forth in Appendix L, may be brought by any interested third party ("Qualification Challenger") pursuant to the procedures described in Subsection 1.3 ("Qualification Challenge"). In the event that a challenge against a Registered Name is successful, the Qualification Challenger may have the registration transferred to himself, herself, or itself upon meeting all Qualification Requirements. (As used in this Appendix M, "Registered Name" shall have the meaning defined in Subsection 1.11 of the Registry Agreement.)

1.2 Qualification Challenge Providers. After consulting with the Registry Operator, ICANN will from time to time approve qualified arbitration providers ("Qualification Challenge Providers") to hear the Qualification Challenges. ICANN will maintain a list the Qualification Challenge Providers on its website. (See http://www.icann.org/dndrp/proqcp/approved-providers.htm.) The Registry Operator will provide training for Qualification Challenge Providers with regard to eligibility requirements and policies, as set forth in Appendix L. The Advisory Board will assist the Registry Operator to identify and recommend Qualification Challenge Providers and provide policy direction with regard to the Qualification Challenge Providers' training. Information concerning the process for approval of Qualification Challenge Providers will be posted at http://www.icann.org/dndr/proqcp/provider-approval-process.htm.

1.3 Qualification Challenge Procedures. Qualification Challenges shall proceed according to Paragraph 4 of the Qualification Challenge Policy. The initial Qualification Challenge Policy is set forth in Exhibit 1 to this Appendix M and the initial Qualification Challenge Rules are set forth in Exhibit 2 to this Appendix M. The Qualification Challenge Policy and Qualification Challenge Rules may be revised from time to time as set forth in the Policy (see paragraph 10 of the initial Policy) and Rules (see initial Rule 21). The current version of the Qualification Challenge Policy will be posted at http://www.icann.org/dndr/proqcp/policy.htm and the current version of the Qualification Challenge Rules will be posted at http://www.icann.org/dndr/proqcp/uniform-rules.htm.

2. Qualification Challenge Fees. Fees for Qualification Challenges are established by the selected Qualification Challenge Providers according to the Qualification Challenge Rules and the Provider's supplemental rules.

3. Qualification Challenge Timing. Qualification Challenges may be submitted on or after the Sunrise Start Date for the professions-specific second-level domain (PS-SLD) containing the Registered Name(s) involved.

4. Judicial Remedies. A registrant or a Qualification Challenger may invoke any judicial procedures that are available to challenge the decision, but invocation of any such judicial procedures will not affect compliance by the Authorized Registrar or Registry Operator with the Qualification Challenge decision except as provided by paragraph 5(h) of the Qualification Challenge Policy set forth in Exhibit 1 below, absent an order or similar direction from a court of competent jurisdiction. The sponsoring Authorized Registrar and the Registry Operator will comply with applicable orders of courts of competent jurisdiction concerning Qualification Challenges.

5. Registry Operator Participation in Disputes. Registry Operator will not participate in any way in any dispute between a Registered Name holder and any party other than the Registry Operator regarding the registration and use of a Registered Name. Registry Operator shall not be named as a party or otherwise included in any such proceeding. In the event that Registry Operator is named as a party in any such proceeding, Registry Operator reserves the right to raise any and all defenses deemed appropriate, and to take any other action necessary to defend itself.

III. SUNRISE DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY

1. General Information. All disputes between a third party and a domain name registrant regarding the registration of a domain name registered during the Sunrise Period, set forth in Appendix J, shall be decided under the Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy ("SDRP"). To invoke the policy, a third party may submit a complaint to an approved dispute-resolution service provider.

2. Principal Documents. The following documents provide details:

2.1 Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy. This policy will be prepared by Registry Operator and submitted by it in writing to ICANN no later than thirty days before the projected Sunrise Start Date. It will become effective only upon written approval by ICANN. If ICANN does not act on such proposed policy within fourteen days, it will provide the Registry Operator a written report on the status of its consideration. Upon approval, it will be posted on ICANN's web site at http://www.icann.org/dndr/prosdrp/policy.htm.

2.2 Rules for Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy. The rules followed in the administration of SDRP proceedings will be agreed between the Registry Operator and the dispute-resolution provider and are subject to approval of ICANN, as provided in Subsection 2.3 below. They will be posted on the provider's website.

2.3 Designation of Approved Dispute-Resolution Service Provider(s). The Registry Operator will enter into an agreement with one or more providers of dispute-resolution services under the SDRP. The agreement will specify that the provider will adhere to the SDRP and will establish rules under which the provider will administer proceedings under the SDRP. To obtain approval of the provider, the Registry Operator will submit its agreement with the provider (including the rules) in writing to ICANN. The provider will be designated an Approved Dispute-Resolution Service Provider ("SDRP Provider") upon and according to the conditions expressed in ICANN's written approval of the agreement. If ICANN does not act on such proposed policy within fourteen days, it will provide the Registry Operator a written report on the status of its consideration. ICANN will maintain a list of SDRP Providers on its website. (See http://www.icann.org/dndr/prosdrp/approved-providers.htm.)

2.4 Information Concerning Approval of Process for Dispute-Resolution Service Providers. The then-current approval process will be identified on ICANN's web site at http://www.icann.org/dndr/prosdrp/provider-approval-process.htm.

3. Basis of Challenge. A third party (a "Sunrise Challenger") may challenge a Sunrise Registration ("Sunrise Challenge") on the ground that, at the time of the Sunrise Registration, the Sunrise Registrant was not eligible under Section 3 of Appendix J to register the name registered.

4. Process. Challenges against Sunrise Registrations will be administered according to the SDRP Policy and the rules agreed by the Registry Operator and SDRP Provider and approved by ICANN. In addition, the following procedures will apply:

4.1 The Sunrise Challenger will submit the challenge in writing and electronically to an SDRP Provider, in a form determined by the SDRP Provider, in which the Sunrise Challenger sets forth the basis of the challenge and provides a payment of the Sunrise Challenge Fee. The SDRP Provider will provide notice of the Sunrise Challenge to the Registry Operator and the sponsoring Authorized Registrar. The Registry Operator (or its designee, which may be an SDRP Provider), upon receiving notice of a second or subsequent challenge to the Sunrise Registration of a particular Registered Name, will assign a priority number to the Sunrise Challenge based on the sequence in which it received Sunrise Challenges for the Sunrise Registration. The Registry Operator (or its designee, which may be an SDRP Provider) will notify the affected SDRP Provider(s) and the sponsoring Authorized Registrar(s) of the priority number(s) it assigns.

4.2 Upon receiving notice of a Sunrise Challenge from an SDRP Provider, the sponsoring Authorized Registrar will place the Registered Name(s) involved on Registrar Lock (whereby such Registered Name(s) cannot be transferred to another holder or another registrar during the course of proceedings pursuant to this Section III.)

4.3 The sponsoring Authorized Registrar will maintain the Registered Name(s) on Registrar Lock during the pendency of the SDRP Challenge. (See Section 5 below for details of when the Registrar Lock should be released.) The Registry Operator and the Authorized Registrar will comply with any decision of the SDRP Provider and make all appropriate changes to the status of the Registered Name registration(s) in their Whois databases.

5 Outcome of the Sunrise Challenge.

5.1 If the sponsoring Authorized Registrar receives notice from the SDRP Provider of the SDRP Provider's decision that the Registered Name(s) should remain registered to the Registered Name holder, the Registrar will remove the Registrar Lock within five calendar days after receiving that notice.

5.2 If the sponsoring Authorized Registrar receives notice from the SDRP Provider of the SDRP Provider's decision that the Registered Name holder's Sunrise Registration should be cancelled, the Registrar shall maintain Registrar Lock for twenty-one calendar days after receiving the notice, or for such longer period as necessary to comply with Subsection 5.2.2 below.

5.2.1 During the twenty-one day period, the Sunrise Challenger may register the Sunrise Name(s) involved through any Authorized Registrar, provided that it meets the Sunrise Period registration eligibility requirements stated in Section 3 of Appendix J. The Registered Name(s) will be registered in the name of the Sunrise Challenger, according to the policies and procedures described in Appendices J and L and under the service qualifications, terms, and conditions as all other Sunrise Period registrants. A Sunrise Challenger's satisfaction of the Sunrise Period registration requirements shall be determined in a manner consistent with any decision of an SDRP Provider.

5.2.2 If the Sunrise Challenger does not register the Registered Name(s) within the period allowed in Subsection 5.2.1 above, the sponsoring Authorized Registrar will release the Registered Name(s) from Registrar Lock and delete it (them), unless the sponsoring Authorized Registrar has received a notice from any SDRP Provider of additional Sunrise Challenges involving the Registered Name(s). In the event it has received such a notice, the sponsoring Authorized Registrar will continue Registrar Lock in order to afford other Sunrise Challengers the opportunity, in the order of assigned priority under Subsection 4.1 above, to register the Registered Name according to Subsection 5.2.1 above.

5.3 In the event that a Registered Name that was subject to a Sunrise Challenge is registered in a manner contrary to the provisions of Subsection 4.3 and Section 5 above, all Authorized Registrars will take the steps necessary, in the Registry Operator's reasonable judgment, to correct the error.

6 Sunrise Challenge Fees. The Sunrise Challenger must pay a challenge fee, the amount and payment terms of which will be determined according to agreed and approved rules described in Subsection 2.2 above ("Sunrise Challenge Fees.")

7 Timing of Sunrise Challenges. Parties may invoke the Sunrise Challenge procedure as described in this Section III at any time during a period that begins on the Sunrise Start Date for the PS-SLD and ends sixty days following the Sunrise End Date for the PS-SLD ("Sunrise Challenge Period").

IV. MISCELLANEOUS

Disclaimer. The provisions of this Registry Agreement (including Appendices J, L, and M) shall not create any actual or potential liability on the part of Registry Operator to any person or entity other than ICANN in connection with any dispute concerning any Registered Name or other Registry Service, including the decision of any dispute resolution proceeding related to any of the foregoing.

Modification. The provisions of this Appendix are subject to change by agreement of the Registry Operator and ICANN.


Exhibit 1: Qualification Challenge Policy

[This Qualification Challenge Policy is to be incorporated in each Registration Agreement between a sponsoring Authorized Registrar (the "Registrar") and the registrant (the "Registrant") of every domain-name registration in the .pro top-level domain.]

1. Purpose. This Qualification Challenge Policy (the "Qualification Challenge Policy") has been adopted by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") and is incorporated by reference into the Registration Agreement. (As used in this Qualification Challenge Policy, "Registered Name" refers to a domain name in the .pro top-level domain and has the meaning defined in the Registry Agreement between the Registry Operator and ICANN.) The Qualification Challenge Policy sets forth the terms, conditions, procedures, and schedules for resolving third-party challenges (i.e. challenges not by the Registry Operator or Registrar) to the registration based on failure of the holder of the Registered Name to meet the Qualification Requirements (see the "Registration Restrictions" document attached to the Registry Agreement as Appendix L).

The proceedings under Paragraph 4 of this Qualification Challenge Policy will be conducted according to the Rules for Qualification Challenge Policy (the "Qualification Challenge Rules"), which are available at <http://www.icann.org/dndr/proqcp/uniform-rules.htm>, and the supplemental rules of the administrative dispute-resolution provider (the "Qualification Challenge Provider") that handles the dispute under Paragraphs 5(a) and 5(c). This Qualification Challenge Policy is in addition to the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy ("UDRP"), posted at <http://www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/policy.htm>, and the Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy ("SDRP"), posted at <http://www.icann.org/dndr/prosdrp/policy.htm>, which also apply to disputes in connection with the Registered Name.

2. Registrant's Representations. By applying to register a Registered Name, or by asking Registrar to maintain or renew a Registered Name, Registrant hereby represents and warrants to Registrar that, to his, her, or its knowledge, the registration of Registrant's Registered Name conforms to the requirements for registration of a Registered Name as established in or according to Appendix L to the .pro Registry Agreement between ICANN and the .pro Registry Operator, as it may be amended from time to time (the "Qualification Requirements"). It is Registrant's responsibility to determine whether his, her, or its Registered Name meets these Qualification Requirements.

3. Cancellations, Transfers, and Changes. In addition to the circumstances described in Paragraph 3 of the UDRP, Registrar or Registry Operator will cancel, transfer, or otherwise make changes to Registered Names after Registrar's receipt of a decision of an Administrative Panel requiring such action in any administrative proceeding to which Registrant was a party and which was conducted under this Qualification Challenge Policy or a later version of this Qualification Challenge Policy adopted by ICANN. (See Paragraphs 5(f) and 5(h) below.) (Regarding cancellations, transfers, and other changes pursuant to a judicial instruction, see Paragraph 3 of the UDRP.) Registrar or Registry Operator may also cancel, transfer, or otherwise make changes to a Registered Name registration in accordance with the terms of Registrant's Registration Agreement, ICANN-approved policies, or other legal requirements.

4. Mandatory Administrative Proceeding. This paragraph sets forth the types of disputes for which a Registrant is required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding under this Qualification Challenge Policy. These proceedings will be conducted before a Qualification Challenge Provider.

(a) Applicable Disputes. Registrant is required to submit to a mandatory administrative proceeding in the event that a third party (a "Qualification Challenger") asserts to the applicable Qualification Challenge Provider, in compliance with the Qualification Challenge Rules, that Registrant's Registered Name does not meet the Qualification Requirements. To invoke a Qualification Challenge, the Qualification Challenger must submit a complaint in compliance with the Qualification Challenge Rules.

(b) Evidence of Registration in Violation of the Qualification Requirements. For the purposes of Paragraph 4(a), if the Panel finds that the Registrant:

(i) does not comply with the eligibility requirements described in Appendix L;

(ii) has not provided sufficient evidence of compliance with such eligibility requirements; or

(iii) is no longer in good standing in Registrant's designated profession and in the designated jurisdiction;

then such finding shall be evidence that Registrant's Registered Name does not meet the Qualification Requirements. If the Panel finds that Registrant's Registered Name does not meet the Qualification Requirements, the Panel shall exercise the remedy set forth in Paragraph 5(f).

(c) Responding to a Complaint. When Registrant receives a complaint, Registrant should refer to Paragraph 5 of the Qualification Challenge Rules in determining how to prepare the response.

5. Procedure.

(a) Selection of Provider. The Qualification Challenger shall select the Qualification Challenge Provider from among those on the list of Qualification Challenge Providers available at <http://www.icann.org/dndr/proqcp/approved-providers.htm> by submitting the complaint to that Qualification Challenge Provider. The selected Qualification Challenge Provider will administer the proceeding, except in cases of consolidation as described in Paragraph 5(c).

(b) Initiation of Proceeding and Process and Appointment of Administrative Panel. The Qualification Challenge Rules state the process for initiating and conducting a proceeding and for appointing the panel that will decide the dispute (the "Administrative Panel").

(c) Consolidation. In the event of multiple disputes between Registrant and a Qualification Challenger, either the Registrant or the Qualification Challenger may petition to consolidate the disputes before a single Administrative Panel. This petition shall be made to the first Administrative Panel appointed to hear a pending dispute between the parties. This Administrative Panel may consolidate before it any or all such disputes in its sole discretion, provided that the disputes being consolidated are governed by this Qualification Challenge Policy or a later version of this Qualification Challenge Policy adopted by ICANN.

(d) Fees. All fees charged by a Qualification Challenge Provider in connection with any dispute before an Administrative Panel shall be paid in accordance with Paragraph 19 of the Qualification Challenge Rules.

(e) Registrar's or Registry Operator's Involvement in Qualification Challenge Proceedings. Neither the Registrar nor the Registry Operator participates or will participate in the administration or conduct of any proceeding before an Administrative Panel. In addition, neither the Registrar nor the Registry Operator is or will be liable as a result of any decisions rendered by the Administrative Panel. Upon receiving notice from a Qualification Challenge Provider of the date of commencement of a Qualification Challenge Proceeding (see Paragraph 4(d) of the Qualification Challenge Rules), the Registrar(s) sponsoring any names involved in the proceeding will place the Registered Name(s) involved on Registrar Lock (whereby such Registered Name(s) cannot be transferred to another holder or another registrar during the course of Qualification Challenge Proceeding) and will notify the Registry Operator, in a manner it specifies, that they have done so. The sponsoring Authorized Registrar will maintain the Registered Name(s) on Registrar Lock during the pendency of the Qualification Challenge Proceeding, until released according to Paragraph 5(h). The Registry Operator and the sponsoring Registrar will comply with any panel decision in the Qualification Challenge and make all appropriate changes to the status of the Registered Name registration(s) in their Whois databases.

(f) Remedy. The remedy available to a Qualification Challenger pursuant to any proceeding before an Administrative Panel shall be limited to a decision requiring the cancellation of Registrant's registration of the Registered Name(s). The Qualification Challenger may apply, through any Authorized Registrar and at any time before release of Registrar Lock under Paragraph 5(h), for re-registration to the Qualification Challenger of any of the Registered Name(s) involved in the Qualification Challenge Proceeding. The selected Authorized Registrar will verify that the Qualification Challenger meets all Qualification Requirements and, if applicable, Sunrise Requirements before submitting the re-registration request to the Registry Operator. That request will be made in a manner specified by the Registry Operator and will be held in abeyance by the Registry Operator and treated according to the procedures of Paragraph 5(h).

(g) Notification and Publication. The Qualification Challenge Provider shall promptly notify the Registrar and the Registry Operator of any decision made by an Administrative Panel. All decisions under this Qualification Challenge Policy will be published in full over the Internet, except when an Administrative Panel determines in an exceptional case to redact portions of its decision.

(h) Release of Registrar Lock. If an Administrative Panel decides that Registrant's registration of a Registered Name should be canceled, Registrar will wait twenty-one calendar days (as observed in the location of Registrar's principal office) after the Registrar and the Registry Operator are informed by the applicable Qualification Challenge Provider of the Administrative Panel's decision before implementing that decision. Registrar will then implement the decision by notifying Registry Operator, in a manner specified by Registry Operator, that Registrant's registration of the Registered Name should be canceled, unless Registrar has received from Registrant during that twenty-one calendar day period official documentation (such as a copy of a complaint, file-stamped by the clerk of the court) that Registrant has commenced a lawsuit against the Qualification Challenger in a jurisdiction to which the Qualification Challenger has submitted under Paragraph 3(b)(xiii) of the Qualification Challenge Rules. (In general, that jurisdiction is either the location of Registrar's principal office; New York, U.S.A.; or of Registrant's address as shown in the registry Whois database. See the definition of "Mutual Jurisdiction" in Paragraph 1, as well as Paragraph 3(b)(xiii), of the Qualification Challenge Rules for details.) If Registrar receives such documentation within the twenty-one calendar day period, Registrar will not implement the Administrative Panel's decision or take any further action, until Registrar receives (i) evidence satisfactory to Registrar of an agreed resolution between the parties; (ii) evidence satisfactory to Registrar that Registrant's lawsuit has been dismissed or withdrawn; or (iii) a copy of an order from such court dismissing Registrant's lawsuit or finding that Registrant does not have the right to maintain the registration of Registrant's Registered Name. If, at the time the Registrar notifies Registry Operator that a registration should be cancelled to implement a panel decision as required above, the Registry Operator has received a request to re-register the name to the Qualification Challenger (see Paragraph 5(f)), then the Registered Name will be registered to the Qualification Challenger before being released to general registration.

(i) Availability of Court Proceedings. The mandatory administrative proceeding requirements set forth in Paragraph 4 shall not prevent either the Registrant or the Qualification Challenger from submitting the dispute to a court of competent jurisdiction for independent resolution before such mandatory administrative proceeding is commenced or after such proceeding is concluded.

6. All Other Disputes and Litigation. All other disputes between the Registrant and any party other than Registrar or Registry Operator regarding Registrant's Registered Name that are not brought pursuant to the mandatory administrative proceeding provisions of Paragraph 4 shall be resolved between Registrant and such other party through any court, arbitration, or other proceeding that may be available.

7. Registrar's and Registry Operator's Involvement in Disputes. Neither the Registrar nor the Registry Operator will participate in any way in any dispute between Registrant and any party other than the Registrar or the Registry Operator regarding the registration and use of Registrant's Registered Name. Registrant shall not name Registrar as a party or otherwise include Registrar in any such proceeding. In the event that Registrar or Registry Operator is named as a party in any such proceeding, Registrar and Registry Operator reserve the right to raise any and all defenses deemed appropriate, and to take any other action necessary to defend themselves.

8. Maintaining the Status Quo. Registrar will not cancel, transfer, activate, deactivate, or otherwise change the status of any Registered Name under this Qualification Challenge Policy except as provided in Paragraph 3 and 5 above.

9. Transfers During a Dispute.

(a) Transfers of a Registered Name to a New Holder. Registrant may not transfer his, her, or its Registered Name to another domain name holder (i) during a pending administrative proceeding brought pursuant to this Qualification Challenge Policy or for a period of twenty-one days (as observed in the location of Registrar's principal place of business) after such proceeding is concluded; or (ii) during a pending court proceeding or arbitration commenced regarding Registrant's compliance with the Qualification Requirements. Registrar reserves the right to cancel any transfer of a Registered Name to another holder that is made in violation of this subparagraph.

(b) Changing Registrars. Registrant may not transfer the sponsorship of his, her, or its domain name to another registrar during a pending administrative proceeding brought pursuant to Paragraph 4 or for a period of twenty-one days (as observed in the location of our principal place of business) after such proceeding is concluded. Registrant may transfer administration of his, her, or its domain name to another registrar during a pending court action or arbitration, provided that domain name shall continue to be subject to the proceedings commenced against Registrant in accordance with the terms of this Qualification Challenge Policy.

10. Policy Modifications. Registrar reserves the right to modify this Qualification Challenge Policy at any time with the permission of ICANN and Registry Operator. Registrar will post its revised Qualification Challenge Policy at <URL to be supplied by Registrar> at least thirty calendar days before it becomes effective. Unless this Qualification Challenge Policy has already been invoked by the submission of a complaint to a Qualification Challenge Provider, in which event the version of the Qualification Challenge Policy in effect at the time it was invoked will apply until the dispute is over, all such changes will be binding with respect to any Registered Name dispute, whether the dispute arose before, on or after the effective date of the change. In the event that Registrant objects to a change in this Qualification Challenge Policy, the sole remedy is to cancel his, her, or its Registered Name, provided that Registrant will not be entitled to a refund of any fees paid to Registrar. The revised Qualification Challenge Policy will apply until cancellation of a Registered Name.


Exhibit 2: Qualification Challenge Rules

[These Qualification Challenge Rules apply uniformly to Qualification Challenge Policy proceedings administered by all approved Providers.]

Administrative proceedings for the resolution of disputes under the Qualification Challenge Policy adopted by ICANN shall be governed by these Qualification Challenge Rules and also the Supplemental Rules of the Qualification Challenge Provider administering the proceedings, as posted on its site.

1. Definitions. In these Rules:

"Qualification Challenger" means the party initiating a complaint concerning a Registered Name.

"Qualification Requirements" means the requirements for registration of a Registered Name as established in or according to Appendix L to the .pro Registry Agreement between ICANN and the Registry Operator, as it may be amended from time to time. The Qualification Requirements are posted at <URL>.

"ICANN" refers to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

"Mutual Jurisdiction" means a court jurisdiction at the location of either (a) the principal office of the Registrar, (b) New York, U.S.A., or (c) the Registered Name holder's address as shown for the registration of the Registered Name in Registry Operator's Whois database at the time the complaint is submitted to the Qualification Challenge Provider.

"Panel" means an administrative panel appointed by a Qualification Challenge Provider to decide a complaint concerning a Registered Name.

"Panelist" means an individual appointed by a Provider to be a member of a Panel.

"Party" means a Qualification Challenger or a Respondent.

"Qualification Challenge Policy" means the Qualification Challenge Policy that is incorporated by reference and made a part of the Registration Agreement.

"Qualification Challenge Provider" means a dispute-resolution service provider that is approved by ICANN upon consultation with Registry Operator. A list of such Providers appears at <http://www.icann.org/dndr/proqcp/approved-providers.htm>.

"Registered Name" means a domain name within the .pro top-level domain.

"Registrar" means the entity with which the Respondent has registered a Registered Name that is the subject of a complaint.

"Registration Agreement" means the agreement between a Registrar and a Registered Name holder.

"Registry Operator" means the entity that, pursuant to a Registry Agreement with ICANN, operates the registry for the .pro TLD.

"Respondent" means the holder of a Registered Name against which a complaint is initiated.

"Reverse Registered Name Hijacking" means using the Qualification Challenge Policy in bad faith to attempt to deprive a Registered Name holder of a Registered Name.

"Supplemental Rules" means the rules adopted by the Qualification Challenge Provider and approved by ICANN administering a proceeding to supplement these Qualification Challenge Rules. Supplemental Rules shall not be inconsistent with the Qualification Challenge Policy or these Qualification Challenge Rules and shall cover such topics as fees, word and page limits and guidelines, the means for communicating with the Qualification Challenge Provider and the Panel, and the form of cover sheets.

2. Communications.

(a) When forwarding a complaint to the Respondent, it shall be the Qualification Challenge Provider's responsibility to employ reasonably available means calculated to achieve actual notice to Respondent. Achieving actual notice, or employing the following measures to do so, shall discharge this responsibility:

(i) sending the complaint to all postal-mail and facsimile addresses (A) shown in the Registered Name data in Registry Operator's Whois database for the registration holder, the technical contact, and the administrative contact and (B) supplied by Registrar to the Provider for the registration's billing contact; and

(ii) sending the complaint in electronic form (including annexes to the extent available in that form) by e-mail to:

(1) the e-mail addresses for the registration holder and the technical, administrative, and billing contacts of the domain name;

(2) postmaster@<the contested domain name>; and

(3) if the domain name (or "www." followed by the domain name) resolves to an active web page (other than a generic page the Qualification Challenge Provider concludes is maintained by a registrar or ISP for parking domain names registered by multiple domain name holders), any e-mail address shown or e-mail links on that web page.

(iii) sending the complaint to any address the Respondent has notified the Qualification Challenge Provider it prefers and, to the extent practicable, to all other addresses provided to such Provider by Qualification Challenger under Paragraph 3(b)(v).

(b) Except as provided in Paragraph 2(a), any written communication to Qualification Challenger or Respondent provided for under these Qualification Challenge Rules shall be made by the preferred means stated by the Qualification Challenger or Respondent, respectively (see Paragraphs 3(b)(iii) and 5(b)(iii)), or in the absence of such specification

(i) by telecopy or facsimile transmission, with a confirmation of transmission; or

(ii) by postal or courier service, postage pre-paid and return receipt requested; or

(iii) electronically via the Internet, provided a record of its transmission is available.

(c) Any communication to the Qualification Challenge Provider or the Panel shall be made by the means and in the manner (including number of copies) stated in the Provider's Supplemental Rules.

(d) Communications shall be made in the language prescribed in Paragraph 11. E-mail communications should, if practicable, be sent in plaintext.

(e) Either Party may update its contact details by notifying the Qualification Challenge Provider and the Registrar.

(f) Except as otherwise provided in these Qualification Challenge Rules, or decided by a Panel, all communications provided for under these Qualification Challenge Rules shall be deemed to have been made:

(i) if delivered by telecopy or facsimile transmission, on the date shown on the confirmation of transmission; or

(ii) if by postal or courier service, on the date marked on the receipt; or

(iii) if via the Internet, on the date that the communication was transmitted, provided that the date of transmission is verifiable.

(g) Except as otherwise provided in these Qualification Challenge Rules, all time periods calculated under these Rules that are to begin when a communication is made shall begin to run on the earliest date that the communication is deemed to have been made in accordance with Paragraph 2(f).

(h) Any communication by

(i) a Panel to any Party shall be copied to the Qualification Challenge Provider and to the other Party;

(ii) the Qualification Challenge Provider to any Party shall be copied to the other Party; and

(iii) a Party shall be copied to the other Party, the Panel and the Qualification Challenge Provider, as the case may be.

(i) It shall be the responsibility of the sender to retain records of the fact and circumstances of sending, which shall be available for inspection by affected parties and for reporting purposes.

(j) In the event a Party sending a communication receives notification of non-delivery of the communication, the Party shall promptly notify the Panel (or, if no Panel is yet appointed, the Qualification Challenge Provider) of the circumstances of the notification. Further proceedings concerning the communication and any response shall be as directed by the Panel (or the Qualification Challenge Provider).

3. The Complaint.

(a) Any person or entity may initiate an administrative proceeding by submitting a complaint in accordance with the Qualification Challenge Policy and these Qualification Challenge Rules to any Qualification Challenge Provider. (Due to capacity constraints or for other reasons, a Qualification Challenge Provider's ability to accept complaints may be suspended at times. In that event, the Provider shall refuse the submission. The person or entity may submit the complaint to another Qualification Challenge Provider.)

(b) The complaint shall be submitted in hard copy and (except to the extent not available for annexes) in electronic form and shall:

(i) Request that the complaint be submitted for decision in accordance with the Qualification Challenge Policy and these Qualification Challenge Rules;

(ii) Provide the name, postal and e-mail addresses, and the telephone and telefax numbers of the Qualification Challenger and of any representative authorized to act for the Qualification Challenger in the administrative proceeding;

(iii) Specify a preferred method for communications directed to the Qualification Challenger in the administrative proceeding (including person to be contacted, medium, and address information) for each of (A) electronic-only material and (B) material including hard copy;

(iv) Designate whether Qualification Challenger elects to have the dispute decided by a single-member or a three-member Panel and, in the event Qualification Challenger elects a three-member Panel, provide the names and contact details of three candidates to serve as one of the Panelists (these candidates may be drawn from any Qualification Challenge Provider's list of panelists);

(v) Provide the name of the Respondent and all information (including any postal and e-mail addresses and telephone and telefax numbers) known to Qualification Challenger regarding how to contact Respondent or any representative of Respondent, including contact information based on pre-complaint dealings, in sufficient detail to allow the Qualification Challenge Provider to send the complaint as described in Paragraph 2(a);

(vi) Specify the Registered Name(s) that is/are the subject of the complaint;

(vii) Identify the Registrar(s) with whom the Registered Name(s) is/are registered at the time the complaint is filed;

(viii) Specify the Registered Name(s) on which the complaint is based;

(ix) Identify the basis of the challenge, including a description of the manner in which the Registered Name(s) do not satisfy the Qualification Requirements and, if the Qualification Challenger seeks to have the Registered Name(s) transferred to him, her, or it, a representation and warranty that the Qualification Challenger meets the Qualification Requirements.

(The description should discuss any aspects of the Qualification Challenge Policy that are applicable and shall comply with any word or page limit set forth in the Qualification Challenge Provider's Supplemental Rules)

(x) Specify, in accordance with the Qualification Challenge Policy, the remedies sought;

(xi) Identify any other legal proceedings that have been commenced or terminated in connection with or relating to the any of the Registered Name(s) that are the subject of the complaint;

(xii) State that a copy of the complaint, together with the cover sheet as prescribed by the Qualification Challenge Provider's Supplemental Rules, has been sent or transmitted to the Respondent, in accordance with Paragraph 2(b);

(xiii) State that Qualification Challenger will submit, with respect to any challenges to a decision in the administrative proceeding canceling or transferring the Registered Name(s), to the jurisdiction of the courts in at least one specified Mutual Jurisdiction;

(xiv) Conclude with the following statement followed by the signature of the Qualification Challenger or its authorized representative:

"Qualification Challenger agrees that its claims and remedies concerning the registration of the Registered Name or the dispute's resolution shall be solely against the Registered Name and waives all such claims and remedies against (a) the Qualification Challenge Provider and Panelists, except in the case of deliberate wrongdoing, (b) the Registrar, (c) the Registry Operator, and (d) the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, as well as their directors, officers, employees, and agents."

"Qualification Challenger certifies that the information contained in this Complaint is to the best of Qualification Challenger's knowledge complete and accurate, that this complaint is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, and that the assertions in this complaint are warranted under these Rules and under applicable law, as it now exists or as it may be extended by a good-faith and reasonable argument."; and

(xv) Annex any documentary or other evidence, including a copy of the Qualification Challenge Policy applicable to the Registered Name(s) in dispute and any evidence of the Qualification Challenger's qualification to register the name under the Qualification Requirements, upon which the complaint relies, together with a schedule indexing such evidence.

(c) The complaint may relate to more than one Registered Name, provided that the Registered Names are registered by the same holder.

4. Notification of Complaint.

(a) The Qualification Challenge Provider shall review the complaint for administrative compliance with the Qualification Challenge Policy and these Qualification Challenge Rules and, if in compliance, shall forward the complaint (together with the explanatory cover sheet prescribed by the Qualification Challenge Provider's Supplemental Rules) to the Respondent, in the manner prescribed by Paragraph 2(a), within five calendar days following receipt of the fees to be paid by the Qualification Challenger in accordance with Paragraph 19.

(b) If the Qualification Challenge Provider finds the complaint to be administratively deficient, it shall promptly notify the Qualification Challenger and the Respondent of the nature of the deficiencies identified. The Qualification Challenger shall have five calendar days within which to correct any such deficiencies, after which the administrative proceeding will be deemed withdrawn without prejudice to submission of a different complaint by Qualification Challenger.

(c) The date of commencement of the administrative proceeding shall be the date on which the Provider completes its responsibilities under Paragraph 2(a) in connection with forwarding the Complaint to the Respondent.

(d) The Qualification Challenge Provider shall immediately (and in no event later than within three calendar days) notify the Qualification Challenger, the Respondent, the concerned Registrar(s), the Registry Operator, and ICANN of the date of commencement of the administrative proceeding. The Registrar(s) shall place the Registered Name on Registrar Lock (whereby such Registered Name cannot be transferred to another holder or another registrar during the course of these proceedings). Registrar shall notify Registry Operator immediately (and in no event later than within three calendar days) upon executing Registrar Lock.

5. The Response.

(a) Within twenty-one calendar days after the date of commencement of the administrative proceeding, the Respondent shall submit a response to the Qualification Challenge Provider.

(b) The response shall be submitted in hard copy and (except to the extent not available for annexes) in electronic form and shall:

(i) Provide evidence of the Respondent's compliance with the Qualification Requirements (including continued good standing in the profession corresponding to the PS-SLD in question and the relevant jurisdiction).

(These portions of the response shall comply with any word or page limit set forth in the Provider's Supplemental Rules)

(ii) Provide the name, postal and e-mail addresses, and the telephone and telefax numbers of the Respondent and of any representative authorized to act for the Respondent in the administrative proceeding;

(iii) Specify a preferred method for communications directed to the Respondent in the administrative proceeding (including person to be contacted, medium, and address information) for each of (A) electronic-only material and (B) material including hard copy;

(iv) If Qualification Challenger has elected a single-member panel in the Complaint (see Paragraph 3(b)(iv)), state whether Respondent elects instead to have the dispute decided by a three-member panel;

(v) If either Qualification Challenger or Respondent elects a three-member Panel, provide the names and contact details of three candidates to serve as one of the Panelists (these candidates may be drawn from any Qualification Challenge Provider's list of panelists);

(vi) Identify any other legal proceedings that have been commenced or terminated in connection with or relating to any of the Registered Name(s) that are the subject of the complaint;

(vii) State that a copy of the response has been sent or transmitted to the Qualification Challenger, in accordance with Paragraph 2(b); and

(viii) Conclude with the following statement followed by the signature of the Respondent or its authorized representative:

"Respondent certifies that the information contained in this Response is to the best of Respondent's knowledge complete and accurate, that this Response is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, and that the assertions in this Response are warranted under these Rules and under applicable law, as it now exists or as it may be extended by a good-faith and reasonable argument."; and

(ix) Annex any documentary or other evidence upon which the Respondent relies, together with a schedule indexing such documents.

(c) If Qualification Challenger has elected to have the dispute decided by a single-member Panel and Respondent elects a three-member Panel, Respondent shall be required to pay one-half of the applicable fee for a three-member Panel as set forth in the Provider's Supplemental Rules. This payment shall be made together with the submission of the response to the Qualification Challenge Provider. In the event that the required payment is not made, the dispute shall be decided by a single-member Panel.

(d) At the request of the Respondent, the Qualification Challenge Provider may, in exceptional cases, extend the period of time for the filing of the response. The period may also be extended by written stipulation between the Parties, provided the stipulation is approved by the Qualification Challenge Provider.

(e) If a Respondent does not submit a response, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Qualification Challenge Panel shall decide the dispute based upon the complaint.

6. Appointment of the Panel and Timing of Decision.

(a) Each Qualification Challenge Provider shall maintain and publish a publicly available list of panelists and their qualifications.

(b) If neither the Qualification Challenger nor the Respondent has elected a three-member Panel (Paragraphs 3(b)(iv) and 5(b)(iv)), the Qualification Challenge Provider shall appoint, within five calendar days following receipt of the response by the Qualification Challenge Provider, or the lapse of the time period for the submission thereof, a single Panelist from its list of panelists.

(c) If either the Qualification Challenger or the Respondent elects to have the dispute decided by a three-member Panel, the Qualification Challenge Provider shall appoint three Panelists in accordance with the procedures identified in Paragraph 6(e).

(d) Unless it has already done so under Paragraph 3(b)(iv), the Qualification Challenger shall submit to the Qualification Challenge Provider, within five calendar days after communication of a response in which the Respondent elects a three-member Panel, the names and contact details of three candidates to serve as one of the Panelists. These candidates may be drawn from any Qualification Challenge Provider's list of panelists.

(e) In the event that either the Qualification Challenger or the Respondent elects a three-member Panel, the Qualification Challenge Provider shall endeavor to appoint one Panelist from the list of candidates provided by each of the Qualification Challenger and the Respondent. In the event the Qualification Challenge Provider is unable within five calendar days to secure the appointment of a Panelist on its customary terms from either Party's list of candidates, the Qualification Challenge Provider shall make that appointment from its list of panelists. The third Panelist shall be appointed by the Qualification Challenge Provider from a list of five candidates submitted by the Qualification Challenge Provider to the Parties, the Qualification Challenge Provider's selection from among the five being made in a manner that reasonably balances the preferences of both Parties, as they may specify to the Qualification Challenge Provider within five calendar days after the Qualification Challenge Provider's submission of the five-candidate list to the Parties.

(f) Once the entire Panel is appointed, the Qualification Challenge Provider shall notify the Parties of the Panelists appointed and the date by which, absent exceptional circumstances, the Panel shall forward its decision on the complaint to the Qualification Challenge Provider.

7. Impartiality and Independence.

A Panelist shall be impartial and independent and shall have, before accepting appointment, disclosed to the Qualification Challenge Provider any circumstances giving rise to justifiable doubt as to the Panelist's impartiality or independence. If, at any stage during the administrative proceeding, new circumstances arise that could give rise to justifiable doubt as to the impartiality or independence of the Panelist, that Panelist shall promptly disclose such circumstances to the Qualification Challenge Provider. In such event, the Qualification Challenge Provider shall have the discretion to appoint a substitute Panelist.

8. Communication Between Parties and the Panel.

No Party or anyone acting on its behalf may have any unilateral communication with the Panel. All communications between a Party and the Panel or the Qualification Challenge Provider shall be made to a case administrator appointed by the Qualification Challenge Provider in the manner prescribed in the Qualification Challenge Provider's Supplemental Rules.

9. Transmission of the File to the Panel.

The Qualification Challenge Provider shall forward the file to the Panel as soon as the Panelist is appointed in the case of a Panel consisting of a single member, or as soon as the last Panelist is appointed in the case of a three-member Panel.

10. General Powers of the Panel.

(a) The Panel shall conduct the administrative proceeding in such manner as it considers appropriate in accordance with the Qualification Challenge Policy and these Qualification Challenge Rules.

(b) In all cases, the Panel shall ensure that the Parties are treated with equality and that each Party is given a fair opportunity to present its case.

(c) The Panel shall ensure that the administrative proceeding takes place with due expedition. It may, at the request of a Party or on its own motion, extend, in exceptional cases, a period of time fixed by these Qualification Challenge Rules or by the Panel.

(d) The Panel shall determine the admissibility, relevance, materiality, and weight of the evidence.

(e) A Panel shall decide a request by a Party to consolidate multiple Registered Name disputes in accordance with the Qualification Challenge Policy and these Qualification Challenge Rules.

11. Language of Proceedings.

(a) Unless otherwise agreed by the Parties, or specified otherwise in the Registration Agreement, the language of the administrative proceeding shall be the language of the Registration Agreement, subject to the authority of the Panel to determine otherwise, having regard to the circumstances of the administrative proceeding.

(b) The Panel may order that any documents submitted in languages other than the language of the administrative proceeding be accompanied by a translation in whole or in part into the language of the administrative proceeding.

12. Further Statements.

In addition to the complaint and the response, the Panel may request, in its sole discretion, further statements or documents from either of the Parties.

13. In-Person Hearings.

There shall be no in-person hearings (including hearings by teleconference, videoconference, and web conference), unless the Panel determines, in its sole discretion and as an exceptional matter, that such a hearing is necessary for deciding the complaint.

14. Default.

(a) In the event that a Party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any of the time periods established by these Qualification Challenge Rules or the Panel, the Panel shall proceed to a decision on the complaint.

(b) If a Party, in the absence of exceptional circumstances, does not comply with any provision of, or requirement under, these Qualification Challenge Rules or any request from the Panel, the Panel shall draw such inferences therefrom as it considers appropriate.

15. Panel Decisions.

(a) A Panel shall decide a complaint on the basis of the statements and documents submitted and in accordance with the Qualification Challenge Policy, these Qualification Challenge Rules and any rules and principles of law that it deems applicable.

(b) In the absence of exceptional circumstances, the Panel shall forward its decision on the complaint to the Qualification Challenge Provider within twenty-one calendar days after its appointment pursuant to Paragraph 6.

(c) In the case of a three-member Panel, the Panel's decision shall be made by a majority.

(d) The Panel's decision shall be in writing, provide the reasons on which it is based, indicate the date on which it was rendered and identify the name(s) of the Panelist(s).

(e) Panel decisions and dissenting opinions shall normally comply with the guidelines as to length set forth in the Qualification Challenge Provider's Supplemental Rules. Any dissenting opinion shall accompany the majority decision. If the Panel concludes that the dispute is not within the scope of Paragraph 4(a) of the Qualification Challenge Policy, it shall so state. If after considering the submissions, the Panel finds that the complaint was brought in bad faith, for example in an attempt at Reverse Registered Name Hijacking or was brought primarily to harass the Registered Name holder, the Panel shall declare in its decision that the complaint was brought in bad faith and constitutes an abuse of the administrative proceeding.

16. Communication of Decision to Parties.

(a) Within three calendar days after receiving the decision from the Panel, the Qualification Challenge Provider shall communicate the full text of the decision to each Party, the concerned Registrar(s), Registry Operator, and ICANN. The concerned Registrar(s) shall immediately communicate to each Party, the Provider, Registry Operator, and ICANN the date for the implementation of the decision in accordance with the Policy.

(b) Except if the Panel determines otherwise (see Paragraph 5(g) of the Qualification Challenge Policy), the Qualification Challenge Provider shall publish the full decision and the date of its implementation on a publicly accessible Qualification Challenge Provider site. In any event, the portion of any decision determining a complaint to have been brought in bad faith (see Paragraph 15(e) of these Qualification Challenge Rules) shall be published.

17. Settlement or Other Grounds for Termination.

(a) If, before the Panel's decision, the Parties agree on a settlement, the Panel shall terminate the administrative proceeding.

(b) If, before the Panel's decision is made, it becomes unnecessary or impossible to continue the administrative proceeding for any reason, the Panel shall terminate the administrative proceeding, unless a Party raises justifiable grounds for objection within a period of time to be determined by the Panel.

18. Effect of Court Proceedings.

(a) In the event of any legal proceedings initiated prior to or during an administrative proceeding under these Qualification Challenge Rules in respect of a Registered Name that is the subject of the complaint, the Panel shall have the discretion to decide whether to suspend or terminate the administrative proceeding, or to proceed to a decision.

(b) In the event that a Party initiates any legal proceedings during the pendency of an administrative proceeding under these Qualification Challenge Rules in respect of a Registered Name that is the subject of the complaint, it shall promptly notify the Panel and the Qualification Challenge Provider. See Paragraph 8 above.

19. Fees.

(a) For administrative proceedings brought pursuant to Paragraph 4(b) of the Policy, the fees shall be paid as follows:

(i) The Qualification Challenger shall pay to the Qualification Challenge Provider an initial fixed fee, in accordance with the Qualification Challenge Provider's Supplemental Rules, within the time and in the amount required.

(ii) A Respondent electing under Paragraph 5(b)(iv) to have the dispute decided by a three-member Panel, rather than the single-member Panel elected by the Qualification Challenger, shall pay the Provider one-half the fixed fee for a three-member Panel. See Paragraph 5(c). In all other cases, the Qualification Challenger shall bear all of the Provider's fees, except as prescribed under Paragraph 19(e).

(b) No action shall be taken by the Qualification Challenge Provider on a complaint until it has received from Qualification Challenger the fee in accordance with Paragraph 19(a)(i).

(c) For fees owed by the Qualification Challenger in accordance with Paragraph 19(a)(i), if the Qualification Challenge Provider has not received the within ten calendar days after receiving the complaint, the complaint shall be deemed withdrawn and the administrative proceeding terminated.

(d) For fees owed by the Respondent in accordance with Paragraph 19(a)(ii), if the Qualification Challenge Provider has not received the fee within ten calendar days after forwarding the complaint to the Respondent, Respondent shall be deemed to have defaulted. See Paragraph 14.

(e) In exceptional circumstances, for example in the event an in-person hearing is held, the Qualification Challenge Provider shall request the Parties for the payment of additional fees, which shall be established in agreement with the Parties and the Panel.

20. Exclusion of Liability.

Except in the case of deliberate wrongdoing, neither the Qualification Challenge Provider nor a Panelist shall be liable to a Party for any act or omission in connection with any administrative proceeding under these Qualification Challenge Rules.

21. Amendments.

The version of these Qualification Challenge Rules in effect at the time of the submission of the complaint to the Qualification Challenge Provider shall apply to the administrative proceeding commenced thereby. These Qualification Challenge Rules may not be amended without the express written approval ICANN, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.

Earlier draft:


6 March 2002
4 March 2002


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