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 registrants because it:  

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

This procedure is set out 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 Decision-Maker, who is a legal expert on the matter, assesses the dispute.  
  2. The Third-Party Decision Maker may decide to delete the domain name or to transfer the name to the complainant.   
  3. The registrant may reply to the complainant’s arguments only once in writing.   

When can CEPANI help?

If you, as a third-party, want to lodge a complaint against a .be registrant, two requirements must be met before CEPANI can address that complaint. 

  1. The complaint must be lodged in accordance with the formal requirements
  2. You must deposit a procedural fee of €1,750 (VAT excl.) on CEPANI’s account.

To obtain the transfer of the domain name, you must meet three cumulative requirements:

  • 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 registrant has no right to or legitimate interest in that domain name.  
  • The registrant acted with the intention of causing harm to a third party or of obtaining an unwarranted benefit. 

It is recommended to mention the application to transfer the domain name in question explicitly in the complaint.  

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  
  • The mediator must be appointed at the latest 7 days later   
  • The decision is announced 14 days later  
  • 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 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.  

(the days referred to here are calendar days)  

The Third-Party Decision-maker may extend these periods in exceptional cases.  

Cost of the procedure  

The complainant has to pay the required fee (€1,750 VAT excl.) at the beginning of the procedure. If the Third-Party Decision-Maker decides that the complaint is justified, we will refund the entire fee 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 Decision-Maker. 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  €4,050.00 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 Decision-Makers. 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.