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WIPO Recommends Uniform Registration for New gTLDs

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recommended the introduction of a uniform intellectual property (IP) protection mechanism designed to further curb unauthorized registration of domain names in all new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). The report, “New Generic Top-Level Domains: Intellectual Property Considerations”, which is available at WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center, says that such a preventive mechanism would complement the curative relief provided by the existing Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Among other things, the report recommends implementing a single uniform preventive IP protection mechanism across all new gTLDs. Specifically, new gTLDs would be required to offer IP owners the option of registering their protected identifiers during a specified period before opening registration to the general public. In sponsored or restricted gTLDs where IP owners may not be eligible to register domain names, IP owners could instead be given the option of obtaining defensive registrations during this initial period. According to the report, such a uniform mechanism would have a number of advantages:

• Operators of new gTLDs would not be required to develop their own IP protection mechanisms, a task for which they are not necessarily equipped;

• ICANN would not be required to monitor the correct implementation of multiple protection mechanisms applied by different gTLDs (now that ICANN’s experimental “proof of concept” phase on new gTLDs has been concluded);

• IP owners would not be required to devote significant resources to understanding and using multiple different IP protection mechanisms; and

• The general public would benefit from enhanced reliability and credibility of domains.

By William F. Heinze, Attorney

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