Domain Disputes: Toth v Emirates [2012]

Toth v Emirates & Anor [2012] EWHC 517 (Ch)

This domain disputes case was an appeal from the decision of Birss QC Michael Toth v Emirates [2011] EWPCC 18 and was heard on the 14th and 15th  February with the decision handed down on the 7th March 2012. You will recall that Emirates made an application to strike out two claims at the first hearing. The judge refused one but granted another.

Both Emirates and Mr Toth appealed those decisions. In this judgment Mr Justice Mann decided to deal with only one appeal assuming that his decision on the first would resolve the second.

Emirates sought to appeal to the Court of Appeal, Nominet intervened in these proceedings and then the parties realised the appeal should be dealt in the High Court and therefore it was transferred to the Chancery division

The issue in the appeal was whether the Nominet rules permit a rehearing or whether it can only be decided by an expert and appeal panel.

The judge found the opposite of the judge below.

“This argument only works for Mr Turner if the contract constituted by the DRS leaves it open to the court to grant a declaration. If it is a contract which leaves the question of abusive registration to the expert (and appeal panel) then the court must decline to grant a declaration, either as a matter of jurisdiction, or as a matter of discretion (it does not matter which). I have already held that that is the effect of the contract, so the declaration route is not open to Mr Toth. In fact, his explanation of how the declaration would work is a further point which supports the case for saying that the DRS does not permit the court a role. To have the court decision operating in such an indirect manner would be a very odd position to put the court in. If it was intended that the court should have a role then one would have expected the contract to be structured so as to give it a more direct one.”

So the initial excitement at an end.  A sensible decision .

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