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ICANN’s Implementation Recommendation Team for New gTLDs: Safeguards Needed

During the recent ICANN Board meeting in Mexico City, the Board authorized the creation and funding of an Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT). This team was to be comprised of “an internationally diverse group of persons with knowledge, expertise, and experience in the fields of trademark, consumer protection, or competition law, and the interplay of trademarks and the domain name system to develop and propose solutions to the overarching issue of trademark protection in connection with the introduction of new gTLDs.” This IRT is tasked to produce a report for consideration by the ICANN community at the Sydney meeting.

The IRT consists of 24 members:

  • Chairwoman Caroline G. Chicoine; and
  • Seventeen members; and
  • Six ex officio members: Four IPC-elected officers and two-GNSO elected Board Directors (Bruce Tonkin and Rita Rodin Johnston).

I have a number of friends and colleagues serving on this team and I wish them well in their important endeavor.

I’ve previously proposed [PDF] a number of rights-protection mechanisms that IRT should consider. Today, I offer a few suggestions that I hope will guide IRT as they embark on their important work tomorrow. In particular, I hope they’ll implement some of my suggestions intended to make the IRT process more transparent-so the rest of the global Internet can follow along with their important work and provide constructive input where possible.

By Michael D. Palage, Intellectual Property Attorney and IT Consultant

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"Laissez-faire" just won't do... Richard Henderson  –  Mar 31, 2009 6:21 PM

Thanks for a thoughtful article. I think the call for transparency is an extremely wise defensive measure and one that ICANN / IRT would be foolish to ignore.

You will not be surprised if I endorse your call for very thorough processes to be designed in order to demonstrate in any subsequent litigation that ICANN took meticulous and conscientious measures to guarantee opportunities for trademark holders to claim their domain space. You will recall the calamitous mayhem that accompanied the .info launch because the measures set in place were poorly developed and allowed tens of thousands of people to game the system (including some of Afilias’s own directors!!!).

Seriously, given the legal minefield that is inevitably going to be opened up with the burgeoning of new TLDs, it is absolutely essential from ICANN’s point of view that they cannpt be charged with being contributory to the flouting of Trademark rights through a lack of care over the meticulous design of protective measures for Trademark holders.

I say that, even though I personally dislike the namespace and common names being requisitioned and made inaccessible to other people with other legitimate uses for those names. But put simply - as you point out - ICANN is on a hiding to nothing if it adopts its often “laissez-faire” approach to the trademark issue.

Thanks for your thoughtful article. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

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