National Arbitration Forum

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National Arbitration Forum.JPG
Type: Privately held
Industry: Legal
Founded: 1986
Headquarters: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Country: USA
Employees: 1,600
Facebook: National Arbitration Forum
LinkedIn: Natioal Arbitration Forum
Key People
Kristine Dorrain, Director of Internet and IP Service

National Arbitration Forum (FORUM) is a dispute resolution company which is composed of more than 1,600 arbitrators and mediators who are legal practitioners and former judges located in United States and 35 other countries worldwide. FORUM is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In February 2013, The National Arbitration Forum was chosen as the first Uniform Rapid Suspension System provider by ICANN for its New gTLD Program. The URS acts similar to the UDRP, and is a trademark protection mechanism whereby trademark holders can immediately take action against offending domains. In its announcement, ICANN described FORUM's proposal as "outstanding", and noted its "proven track record boasting resolution of over 19,000 claims in 12+ years of administering UDRP cases. Additionally, FORUM has already developed, and is currently operating a TLD-specific rapid relief system."[1]


The National Arbitration Forum was founded in 1986 by a group of legal experts- litigators, mediators and former judges. The group leveraged their knowledge on court processes, information technology and law to create a broad array of alternative dispute resolution programs to offer the integrity of the court system with more choices and control.[2]


The FORUM aims to provide a fair, efficient, and effective system for the resolution of commercial and civil disputes in the United States and worldwide.


The company provides arbitration and mediation services for businesses in the United States and other countries all over the world. Forum also provides additional ADR services which include Early Neutral Evaluation, Settlement Conferences, Complex Panels, Special Masters, Online Resolution, Expedited Arbitration, Expedited Mediation and International Arbitration.[3]

National Arbitration Forum and ICANN

ICANN approved FORUM to provide resolution services for domain name disputes around the world, under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.[4] Since ICANN's approval, there have been more than 16,000 domain name disputes filed with the National Arbitration Forum's state-of-the-art case management system optimized by Forthright,[5] an innovator in the design, automation, and management of processing solutions for complex regulatory and legal compliance programs.[6]

In 2010, FORUM was approved by ICANN to handle disputes on the .co ccTLD. Representatives of the company also attended the ICANN meetings in Brussels and Cartagena to follow potential expansion of the gTLD space.[7]

The National Arbitration Forum provided comments to various ICANN programs, which include:[8]

  • Implementation of eUDRP on January 20, 2009
  • IRT Final Recommendations July 6, 2009
  • RPM's for New gTLDs on November 20, 2009
  • Uniform Rapid Suspension System on March 29, 2010
  • Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure on March 30, 2010
  • Registry Restrictions Dispute Resolution Procedure
  • Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy on February 11, 2011

Allegations of Unfair Decisions

On February 2012, ICA requested ICANN to investigate NAF's UDRP arbitration practices on two cases, the Hardware Resources, Inc. v. Yaseen Rehman and the Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Nokta Internet Technologies. ICA alleged that the decisions rendered by NAG panelists on these two cases were dubious.[9]

In the case of Hardware Resources, Inc. v. Yaseen Rehman, ICA cited that the panelist failed to examine the trademark filing of the complainant with the USPTO wherein each registered trademark was accompanied with the statement: “NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "HARDWARE RESOURCES" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN,” which proves that it has no rights to the generic term "hardware resources." NAF's decision to transfer the domain name of the defendant to the complainant is unfair. The NAF panelist ruled primarily on the basis that the defendant failed to respond to the complaint. ICA said that this case should have been dismissed by NAF and determined that the complainant filed the case in bad faith and identified it as an example of attempted act of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking under Paragraph 15(e) of the UDRP Rules. [10]

ICA also claimed that the decision on the Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Nokta Internet Technologies case wherein the domain name was transferred to the complainant was questionable due to gross procedural unfairness. ICA pointed out that the complaint was originally three paragraphs in length. During the last hours of the proceedings, the complainant submitted a 191-page supplemental filing under the NAF Supplemental Rule 7, which is in conflict with ICANN's UDRP Policy. The panelist ruled in favor of the complainant without providing enough time for the respondent to answer the second filing- an entirely new complaint. ICAN pointed out that the proceedings of the case was fundamentally unfair.[11]


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