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Ronald N. Weikers readily admits to delinquency in his early school days. “As a kid I used to cut class and go to trials,” Weikers said. “So I knew I was going to become a lawyer.” Weikers, an intellectual property attorney, will participate in a different kind of legal proceeding this year — arbitration. Weikers has been selected to serve as a domain-name panelist for the World Intellectual Property organization. “I’ve been advising companies and handling domain-name disputes since 1996 so I thought I might take the plunge and arbitrate some of these,” Weikers said. “I applied, and they accepted me.” The World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, offers its mediation center for the quick resolution of domain-name disputes. Anyone in the world can submit a complaint alleging abusive registration of a “.com,” “.org” or “.net” domain name for administrative review. Filing with WIPO does not prevent the filing of suit either before or after the mediation. Rather, the WIPO administrative hearing is meant as an alternative to potentially expensive, time-consuming litigation. The procedure typically takes 45 to 50 days from filing to resolution. Complaints and responses can be filed electronically on the WIPO Web site, www.wipo.org. Hearings are conducted via teleconference, videoconference or Web conference so that travel is not necessary. The complaining party is responsible for the cost — a $1,500 flat fee for a decision by a single panelist. No attorneys or notaries are necessary. No monetary damages are awarded. Panelists simply issue a decision regarding whether the domain name should be transferred, canceled or maintained in its present registration. According to statistics published by WIPO, the United States leads member states with 639 complaints filed in 2000. The United Kingdom is second with 120. Of the 1261 cases filed so far this year, 492 decisions have been rendered. The center is a member of the International Federation of Commercial Arbitration Institutions. Eight-hundred mediators from 70 countries conduct the dispute-resolution procedures according to WIPO rules. According to Weikers, he is one of about 50 lawyers participating from the United States and the first from Philadelphia. Weikers developed an interest in information technology while earning his undergraduate degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in the mid-1980s. “Carnegie-Mellon used computers for everything,” Weikers said. “I became proficient by necessity. Then after college I went to work for Epson computer company.” Weikers stayed with Epson until he entered Villanova University School of Law in 1985. While attending Villanova, Weikers was a published member of the law review and a leader of the moot-court team. In 1988, Weikers went to work for the firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in California’s budding Silicon Valley. It was at Wilson Sonsini that Weikers began to concentrate his practice on intellectual property and complex commercial litigation. By 1989 Weikers had made a lateral move to Philadelphia for a short stint as a litigation associate at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. “After Schnader, I worked for a number of boutique firms,” Weikers said. Weikers is currently the sole practicing partner of Weikers & Co., a Philadelphia firm known on the Web as software-law.com. The firm made a name for itself through Weikers’ publications and speaking engagements concerning the Y2K computer bug. “Now I typically represent software developers whose products are misappropriated or infringed,” Weikers said. Weikers lives in Chestnut Hill with his wife and two dogs. In addition to his litigation practice and new responsibilities with WIPO, Weikers also takes time for pro bono work involving animal rights.

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