Alternative dispute resolution procedure

In cooperation with the Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (CEPANI) we have developed an Alternative Dispute Resolution ( ADR ) procedure for .be domain names.   
This is an interesting procedure for litigants because it:  

  • is conducted quite rapidly (55 days on average)  
  • is carried out entirely in writing, and   
  • involves relatively low costs

You will find the description of the procedure in Article 10 of the  General Terms and Conditions for .be-registrants.  

As an interested party you can initiate an ADR procedure with CEPANI. Once initiated, the procedure is conducted as follows:  

  1. An independent third-party decider is appointed to assess the dispute. This person is a legal expert in the matter. 
  2. The parties are given the opportunity to deposit conclusions and respond to each other's arguments .
  3. The third-party decider considers all the elements brought forward and decides either to transfer the domain name to the complainant or to declare the complaint unfounded.

When can CEPANI help?

CEPANI will handle your complaint against a .be domain name holder if you meet the following requirements: 

  1. The complaint must be lodged in accordance with the formal requirements
  2. You must deposit a procedural fee of €2,000 (VAT excl.) on CEPANI’s account.

To obtain the transfer or cancellation of the domain name, you must demonstrate that each of the following three conditions has been met:

  • The domain name is identical or very similar to one of the following elements:
    • a brand  
    • a trade name  
    • a registered name or company name  
    • a geographic indication   
    • a personal name  
    • a designation of a geographic entity  
    • to which the complainant has rights.  
  • The domain name holder has no rights or legitimate interests regarding the domain name.
  • The domain name holder acted in bad faith when registering or using the domain name. 

When filing the complaint, you can choose between transfer or cancellation of the domain name. We recommend always opting for the transfer as this will allow you to freely dispose of the domain name yourself. Incidentally, in the case of cancellation, there is a risk that it will be released at some point and re-registered by someone else.

Average length of the ADR procedure  

You will find the details of the official procedure on the  CEPANI website. 

An average ADR procedure runs as follows:  

  • You lodge the complaint  
  • The registrant is notified within 7 days that a complaint has been lodged 
  • The registrant has 21 days to respond  
  • Cepani appoints the third-party decider: no later than 7 days later 
  • the third-party decider examines the file and considers whether the parties can submit additional documents
  • the third-party decider rules on the dispute: at the latest 14 days after closing arguments 
  • Cepani announces the decision to the parties 
  • DNS Belgium implements this decision 15 days (*) after receiving it, unless an appeal has been lodged (with CEPANI).

(*) This implementation period begins to run 15 days (the days referred to here are calendar days) as of the day on which we were informed of CEPANI’s decision, and the 15th day counts fully. We will thus carry out the decision on the 16th day after the day on which we were informed, and at the earliest at noon.  

Cost of the procedure  

The complainant has to pay the required fee (€2,000 VAT excl.) at the beginning of the procedure. If the third-party decider decides that the complaint is justified, we will refund these procedural costs to the complainant, and will then claim that amount from the previous, illegal registration.  

Appeal procedure  

Apart from the possibility of referring the dispute to an ordinary court, you can also lodge an appeal with CEPANI within 15 days of the decision handed down by the third-party decider. This appeal term counts as an expiry term, which means that once this term expires, no appeal can be lodged with CEPANI anymore.  

The petition for appeal must be lodged in accordance with the aforementioned formal requirements. The fee for the procedure amounts to  €4,650.00 VAT excl. 

The respondent in the appeal has in turn 7 days to respond to the arguments of the other party. After this period, CEPANI will appoint an appellate body of three third-party deciders. This board must make a decision within thirty calendar days of the case being submitted. The decisions of this appellate body are final and not subject to higher appeal.   

ADR cases  

An overview of all cases can be found on the  CEPANI website.