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.WINE New gTLD is Here, Thanks to Politicians

It is no news that the .WINE and .VIN new gTLDs are to be announced soon by Donuts and if the month of November is the very month everybody has been waiting for, at the beginning of the Sunrise Periods, many questions arise regarding the protection of wine geographical indications.

Axelle Lemaire

There is a lot to say regarding the length of time it took to launch .wine and .vin new gTLDs and, most of all, how difficult it has been to protect its wine Geographical Indications (also called “wine GIs”). The “French way” has been very efficient in facing such a threat to our culture. That is to be demonstrated when these two new gTLD launch.

France has had French experts working on how to protect wine GIs but we’ve also had politicians handling the problem and help find solutions.

Did you say “help find solutions”?

Sorry, I did mean “find solutions”. Politicians are neither domain name experts nor ICANN insiders. The latter know well enough how to go round governance problems. One thing has been demonstrated with .WINE and .VIN new gTLDs: the French Government’s team has shown that it was able to raise an alarm and it did so loud enough to force ICANN to face the problem of protecting a culture—French wines, and French wine regions from being sold to the highest bidder.

One would have expected that the wine Geographical Indications representatives would have the Trademark Clearinghouse as the sole solution to protect wine identifiers. Thanks to the French Deputy Minister for Digital Affairs, Axelle Lemaire, this won’t be the case. For “.wine” and “.vin” domain names, there will be two protection mechanisms: the Trademark Clearinghouse and a list of protected names, yet to be announced.

You heard about “a list” haven’t you? So have we. And if we still do not know which names are going to be on that list, one thing is for sure: no other new gTLD will benefit from that added protection mechanism but .WINE and .VIN new gTLDs… until Round two, maybe?

What about other Governments?

We are thankful to Axelle Lemaire for its toughness and the action of its team but wasn’t this an act of leadership to be able to force ICANN to act and to mobilize the international wine community, including the American one? In a nutshell, wasn’t the political pressure applied on ICANN far more efficient than the protection mechanisms it offered at the beginning?

This may be a new—and far more efficient—approach to Internet Governance: in particular for future new gTLD launching. Politicians may have won their ticket to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

“Vive la France”.

By Jean Guillon, New gTLDs "only".

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