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 and Standard Defensive 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. 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 of Registered Items, based on failure of a Registered Item holder to meet the requirements for registration of a Registered Item as set forth in Appendix L. The proceedings under Paragraph 4 of this Qualification Challenge Policy will be conducted according to the Rules for the 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). Capitalized terms not otherwise defined in the Policy are defined in the Rules. 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 Intellectual Property Defensive Resolution Policy ("IPDRP"), posted at <http://www.icann.org/dndr/prosdrp/policy.htm>, which also apply to disputes in connection with a Registered Item.
2. Registrant's Representations. By applying to register a Registered Item, or by asking Registrar to maintain or renew a Registered Item, Registrant hereby represents and warrants to Registrar that, to his, her, or its knowledge, the registration of Registrant's Registered Item conforms to the Registration Requirements. It is Registrant's responsibility to determine whether his, her, or its Registered Item meet these Registration 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 a Registered Item 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 Item 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 is, for challenges to a Registered Item, the Registered Item does not meet the Registered 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 Registration Requirements described in Appendix L;
(ii) has not provided sufficient evidence of compliance with such Registration Requirements; or
(iii) is no longer in good standing or licensed in Registrant's designated profession and in the designated jurisdiction;
then such finding shall be evidence that Registrant's Registered Item does not meet the Registration Requirements. If the Panel finds that Registrant's Registered Item does not meet the Registration 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.
a. Selection of Provider. The Qualification Challenger shall select an authorized 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). Certain Qualification Challenge Providers may be authorized to offer Administrative Panels for disputes involving only one or more professions served by the .pro TLD or only certain countries or Licensing Jurisdictions (as defined in Appendix L).
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 a 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 Item(s) involved on Registrar Lock (whereby such Registered Item(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 Item(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 Item 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 Item(s) or requesting a transfer of the Registered Item. If the Challenger has requested transfer of the Registered Item, the Panel shall inform RegistryPro accordingly. RegistryPro shall place the domain name on registry lock for at least twenty one (21) days, during which time the Qualification Challenger shall have the opportunity to apply to register the corresponding domain name.
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 the Qualfication Challenger has not requested transfer of the Registered Item and the Administrative Panel decides that Registrant's registration of a Registered Item should be canceled, Registrar will wait twenty-one (21) 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 Item will be cancelled. unless Registrar has received from Registrant during that twenty-one (21) 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 Item.
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 Item 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 Item. 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 Item under this Qualification Challenge Policy except as provided in Paragraph 3 and 5 above.
9. Transfers During a Dispute.
a. Transfers of a Registered Item to a New Holder. Registrant may not transfer his, her, or its Registered Item to another holder (i) during a pending administrative proceeding brought pursuant to this Qualification Challenge Policy or for a period of twenty-one (21) 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 Item 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 Registered Item to another registrar during a pending administrative proceeding brought pursuant to Paragraph 4 or for a period of twenty-one (21) days (as observed in the location of Registrar's principal place of business) after such proceeding is concluded. Registrant may transfer administration of his, her, or its Registered Item to another registrar during a pending court action or arbitration, provided that Registered Item 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 Item 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 Item, 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 Item.