Saudi Domain Names Dispute Resolution Regulations

Version 2.0 (February 2024)

To download the document of Dispute settlement regulations in Saudi domain names

1. Introduction

According to the Telecommunications and Information Technology Law (the “Law”) enacted by Royal Decree No. (M/106) dated 02/11/1443 AH, and its Bylaws (the Bylaws); and based on the regulatory functions of the Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST) as per its amended ordinance (the “Ordinance”) as amended by the Council of Ministers Resolution No. (133) dated 21/05/1424 AH, which entrusted CST with regulatory functions for the information technology sector; and since Article 39 of the Law authorizes CST to regulate Saudi domain names and technical identifiers, make decisions on the dispute related to the same; and giving due consideration the needs and regulation of the information and communication technology (ICT) markets in the Kingdom; and in keeping with the evolving ICT market as well as the experiences of other countries, CST has issued this regulations (the “Regulations” to regulate the resolution of domain name disputes. These regulations establish the rules for settling disputes through administrative proceedings initiated by the complainant and the registrant, with a view to realizing the objectives stated in Article 2 of the Law, especially to maintain transparent and well-defined procedures in line with the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

2. Definitions

The terms and expressions defined in the Telecommunications Act, its Bylaws and other CST’s statutes shall have the same meanings when used in this document. Also, the following terms and expressions shall have the following meanings assigned thereto unless the context requires otherwise:

2-1 “Administrative Panel” or “Panel” means an individual or group of individuals appointed by the Dispute Resolution Provider to study and settle disputes submitted to the Provider based on these regulations and its procedures.

2-2 “Administrative Proceeding” is a mandatory process to which the Registrant is subject to in the event that a complaint is filed by a third-party pursuant to these Rules.

2-3 “Complainant” is the party requesting dispute resolution over a domain name pursuant to these regulations.

2-4 “Regulations” means this Saudi Domain Name Dispute Resolution Regulations.

2-5 “A Dispute Resolution Provider or a Provider” is an entity accredited by CST to resolve Saudi domain names disputes.

2-6 “Dispute Resolution Procedure” is the detailed procedural document for these Rules.

3. Regulations Scope of Application

3-1 These Regulations establish the conditions under which a dispute concerning the registration or use of a Saudi domain name between any Registrant and any other party (not including an licensed registrar, SaudiNIC or CST) may be resolved.

3-2 All Registrants, with the exception of government entities and any other entities associated with them, are subject to these Regulations.

4. Warranties by Registrants

4-1 The Registrant acknowledges that it has reviewed and agreed to the Saudi Domain Name Registration Regulation, warranties and obligations contained therein, including in particular what set forth in Article 6.

5. Cancellations, Transfers and Changes

A licensed Registrar or SaudiNIC will cancel or transfer a domain name, or make changes to a domain name’s registration data under the following circumstances:

5-1 Upon receipt of a Service Request subject to Article 11 of these Regulations.

5-2 Upon receipt of a final court ruling or an order from a competent government entity.

5-3 Upon receipt of a decision following a Dispute Resolution proceeding pursuant to these Regulations.

5-4 Upon a decision being issued by the CST or SaudiNIC pursuant to authority granted to them as per the Saudi Domain Name Registration Regulation.

6. Mediation

6-1 In the event of a potential infringement on rights resulting from a registration or use of a domain name, a Complainant may submit a complaint directly to SaudiNIC via the means dedicated for this purpose as published on the Website prior to resorting to an Administrative Proceeding for dispute resolution. Within 10 business days, SaudiNIC will study the complaint, determine the appropriate methods of treatment, including negotiation and strive to reach an agreement by mutual consent between the parties. In the event that this is not possible, the Complainant has the right to initiate the implementation of the administrative procedure as defined in Article 7 of these Regulations.

7. Administrative Proceeding

This Administrative Proceeding will be conducted by any accredited Dispute Resolution Provider according to the following:

7-1 Acceptance of the dispute consideration:

The dispute shall not be considered unless the complaint meets all the following cases:

7-1-1 The Registrant’s domain name is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark, trade name or service mark in which the Complainant has rights.

7-1-2 The Registrant has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the domain name.

7-1-3 The Registrant’s domain name has been registered or is being used in bad faith.

7-2 Evidence of registration or use in bad faith

For the purpose of case (7-1-3), the following circumstances, in particular but without limitation, if found to be present, shall be evidence of registration or use of a domain name in bad faith:

7-2-1 The Registrant has registered or has acquired the Domain Name primarily for the purpose of selling, renting, or otherwise transferring the domain name registration to the Complainant who is the owner of a trademark, a trade name or a service mark associated with the domain name, or to a competitor of that Complainant, for valuable consideration in excess of the Registrant’s documented out-of-pocket costs directly related to the Domain Name.

7-2-2 The Registrant has registered the Domain Name in order to prevent the owner of the trademark, trade name or service mark from reflecting the mark in a corresponding Domain Name, provided that the Registrant has engaged in a pattern of such conduct.

7-2-3 The Registrant has registered or used the domain name primarily for the purpose disrupting the business of another party.

7-2-4 The purpose of registration or use of the domain name is to intentionally attempted to attract Internet users to its website or other online location that will create illusion that it is under the supervision or care of the Complainant or has a relationship with it or any of its trademarks or trade names.

7-3 How to demonstrate a Registrant’s rights to or legitimate interests in the Domain Name in responding to a Complaint:

When a Registrant receives a complaint, the Registrant should refer to Article 5 of the Dispute Resolution Procedure in determining how its response should be prepared. For the purpose of addressing the alleged circumstances detailed in (7-1-2, 7-1-3) of these Regulations, the Registrant may demonstrate its rights to and legitimate interest(s) in the domain name by providing evidence supporting the Registrant’s claim, including but not limited to one of the following:

7-3-1 Before receiving any notice of the dispute, the Registrant’s use of, or demonstrable preparations to use, the Domain Name or a name corresponding to the Domain Name in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.

7-3-2 The Registrant (as an individual, business, or other organization) has been commonly known by the Domain Name, even if the Registrant has acquired no trademark or service mark rights.

7-3-3 The Registrant makes a legitimate noncommercial or fair use of the Domain Name, without intent for commercial gain to misleadingly divert consumers or to tarnish the registered trade name, trademark or service mark at issue.

7-4 Selection of A Provider

The Complainant shall select the Provider, which shall conduct the dispute resolution service in a manner consistent with these Regulations.

7-5 Initiation of proceeding and appointment of Administrative Panel:

The Dispute Resolution Procedure sets out the processes for filing a complaint and appointing an Administrative Panel. Both the complainant, the Registrant, and the Provider shall abide by the provisions stated in the Dispute Resolution Procedures.

7-6 Consolidation of Disputes:

In the event of multiple disputes subjects to these Regulations between the Registrant and the Complainant, the Registrant or the Complainant may petition to consolidate the disputes. 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.

7-7 Fees

All fees charged by the Provider in connection with any dispute before an Administrative Panel pursuant to these Regulations shall be paid by the Complainant, except in cases where the Registrant elects to expand the Administrative Panel from one to three panelists as provided in Article (5-3) of the Dispute Resolution Procedures, in which case all fees will be split evenly between the Registrant and the Complainant.

7-8 Participation in Administrative Procedures:

Neither SaudiNIC, the CST nor the licensed Registrar will participate in the conduct of the work of the Administrative Panel or appear before it.

7-9 Remedy Options

When submitting a complaint according to these Regulations, the Complainant can choose one of the following settlement options: A. Cancel domain name registration. B. Transferring the domain name to the Complainant.

7-10 Decisions pertaining to Dispute Resolution:

The Provider shall notify SaudiNIC of the Administrative Panel’s recommended decision in resolving a filed dispute. Then, CST will issue the decision of the dispute resolution.

7-11 Notification and Publication:

SaudiNIC shall notify all parties involved of the decision issued by CST. Furthermore, the Provider may publish the recommendations made pursuant to these Regulations. The publication may be a complete, summarized or redacted version.

7-12 Availability of court proceedings:

These Regulations shall not prevent either the Registrant or the Complainant from submitting the dispute to a court or arbitrator of competent jurisdiction for independent resolution of a dispute in Saudi domain names before the start of an administrative proceeding or after its completion.

7-13 Implementation of the Dispute Resolution Decision:

7-13-1 SaudiNIC shall implement issued decisions in pursuant to these Regulations after the lapse of (10) ten working days from the date of notification to all parties.

7-13-2 As an exception to the previous section, in the event of SaudiNIC receiving official documents indicating the commencement of a court proceeding as per the laws governing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by the Registrant against the Complainant, SaudiNIC shall refrain from implementing a decision that it has issued until it receives any one of the following:

7-13-2-1 Evidence of the disputing parties reaching a settlement.

7-13-2-2 Evidence that the court proceeding initiated by the Registrant has been rejected or withdrawn.

7-13-2-3 A copy of a ruling on the dispute made as a result of the court proceeding.

8. All other Disputes and Litigation

8-1 All other disputes with a Registrant concerning the registration or use of a domain name that are not brought pursuant to the administrative proceeding provisions of Article 7 of these Regulations must be resolved through procedures outside of the scope of these Regulations, including any court, arbitration or other applicable proceeding of competent jurisdiction.

9. Involvement in Disputes

9-1 Neither SaudiNIC, the CST nor an licensed Registrar will be party or assume any responsibility in any dispute, which may occur involving the Registrant and any other party, concerning either the registration or use of the domain name registered by the Registrant. The Registrant must not include SaudiNIC, the CST or the licensed Registrar as a party, or identify them in any other capacity, in any such proceeding. In the event that either SaudiNIC, the CST or the licensed Registrar are named as a party in any such proceeding, they each reserve the right to raise any and all defenses deemed appropriate, and to take any other action necessary to defend themselves.

10. Maintaining the Domain Name’s Status Quo

10-1 Neither the licensed Registrar nor SaudiNIC will delete, transfer, activate, suspend, lock, unlock or otherwise change the status or registration information of any applicable Domain Name pursuant to these Regulations except as provided in Article 5 of these Regulations.

11. Transfers During a Dispute

11-1 Transfer of a domain name to a new Registrant:

11-1-1 The Registrant may not transfer a domain name to another party under the following circumstances:

11-1-1-1 During a pending administrative proceeding brought pursuant to Article 7 of these Regulations or for a period of fifteen (15) business days after such a proceeding is concluded.

11-1-1-2 During a pending court proceeding or any similar proceeding commenced before a competent authority regarding the Registrant’s domain name unless the party to whom the domain name registration is being transferred agrees, in writing, to be bound by the decision of the court or arbitrator.

11-2 Transfer to a different licensed Registrar

11-2-1 The Registrant may not transfer the domain name to another licensed Registrar during a pending administrative proceeding brought pursuant to Article 7 of these Regulations or for a period of fifteen (15) business days after such proceeding is concluded.

11-2-2 Registrant may transfer administration of the Registrant’s domain name registration to another licensed Registrar during a pending court action or arbitration, provided that the domain name Registrant continues to be subject to the proceedings commenced against the Registrant in accordance with the terms of these Regulations.

11-3 SaudiNIC reserves the right to cancel any transfer of a domain name registration to another holder that is made in violation of this Article.

12. Modifications

12-1 These Regulations shall be governed and interpreted according to the laws in force in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

12-2 The CST reserves the right to modify these Regulations. Any modifications become effective following their publication on the Website.

12-3 Continued use of a domain name by the Registrant following modifications to these Regulations shall be considered an acknowledgment of agreement to the modifications made to them. In the event that the Registrant objects to a change in the Regulations, the Registrant must request cancellation of its domain name registration. The Registrant acknowledges that its sole remedy is to cancel the domain name registration, either by submitting a request to cancel the registration, or if the cancellation is conducted by SaudiNIC or the licensed Registrar upon the Registrant indicating non-acceptance of the modifications made. The Registrant will not be entitled to a refund of any fees the Registrant paid to the licensed Registrar.

12-4 The Arabic language is the language adopted in the interpretation and execution of these Regulations. One of the foreign languages accepted by SaudiNIC may be used to communicate to implement these Regulations or part thereof, together with the Arabic language. If there is a conflict between the Arabic and foreign text, the Arabic text shall prevail.