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Responding to a complaint

If someone has made a Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) complaint against you, you will be given 15 working days in which to respond. You do not have to submit a response; however your response represents your only chance to put your case to the independent expert. The DRS process and decision is binding and will go ahead even if you do not take part. Deadlines in the DRS are strict, so if you do plan to respond, take action quickly and make sure that you do not miss it.

What the complainant has to prove

The complainant has to prove on the balance of probabilities that they have rights and that your registration or use of the domain name makes it an abusive registration.

Demonstrating Rights in the domain name

There is no requirement for you to show that you have rights in the name (unlike the complainant, who must prove this). However, it can help your case if you show that you do have rights, as it may suggest that the registration (and possibly use) of the name was not abusive.

What you should do to respond to a complaint

  1. Read the DRS Policy and Procedure

    The DRS is a formal process and bound by the Policy and Procedure. We strongly recommend reading these documents prior to responding to a complaint.

  2. Read the guidance booklet Responding to a Complaint

    The Responding to a complaint booklet provides a comprehensive insight to the DRS along with a step-by-step guide to the whole process for respondents.

  3. Read the Experts’ Overview

    The Experts’ Overview is a document written by our panel of independent experts to help you understand how they interpret the Policy and Procedure when making decisions.

  4. Read the Response Guidance Questions

    The Response Guidence Questions document is designed to help you draft your own complaint form by providing prompts for issues you should consider.

  5. Draft your response as Word Document

    Use the Response Guidance Questions as a guide to help you structure your draft. You have a maximum of 5,000 words to explain your response.

  6. Gather your supporting evidence

    You will need documents such as trademarks, Companies House documentation, invoices, screen shots, communication (letters and emails) and other material as supporting evidence. See the detailed guidance below for more information.

  7. Complete the Online Form

    You can copy and paste your response from your Word Document draft into the Online Form. Remember to upload your supporting evidence or let us know that you will be submitting paper documents.

Providing evidence

It is critical that you refer to evidence wherever possible. The most common reason that either party loses a case is a failure to supply supporting evidence to back up their assertions. Decisions are made solely on the information that has been submitted. The Expert who decides the case is not required to undertake any further investigation, so stating that "further evidence can be provided on request", or "see our website" will not get your voice heard. Examples of evidence include:

  • Evidence of how long you have been trading under or (non-abusively ) using a name
  • Copies of correspondence between the parties or any contract agreed
  • Evidence that a name is generic within a particular industry
  • Evidence of any non-commercial use made of the domain name
  • Evidence that contradicts any evidence that the complainant has put forward

Making a response

You will need to log into your online services account to submit your response. Guidance on how to do this is provided in the Responding to a Complaint booklet

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