sE searched 

.Exxell claims TLD .E

 EsE  future domain of sExxell

sE is a registered trademark with the World Intellectual Property Organization WIPO (Europe & China) leaving the world behind.

            liquid city architects          

ICANN's New Internet Domains Hit Trademark Issues

16-07-2009 By Peter Judge

Trademark-owners and Internet users are scared, but ICANN wants to press ahead with a move to allow an unlimited number of Internet domains

Starting in 2010, ICANN, the Internet's governing body, plans to issue a vast number of new top-level domains, at the same time as expanding into non-ASCII alphabets such as Arabic and Chinese . But before it can happen, it has to settle arguments over how much power it will give trademark holders, and whether ICANN itself is too US-centric to administer global domains at all.

The new generic top level domains (new gTLDs) could change the way users find businesses on the Internet, by providing domains such as dot-shop or dot-bank alongside existing gTLDs like dot-com. Large firms, who can afford the expected $185,000 fee could also get a bigger shop window with domains like dot-amazon or dot-ibm, and social networks could use a domain to give all their users a simple domain like name.facebook.

Internationalising the Internet

At the same time, ICANN intends to allow more alphabets, using Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) so firms can have internet domains in their own language, be it Chinese, Arabic, Cyrillic or Hebrew.

The Internet has expanded since 2000, from eight original gTLDs to around 25, but the new rolling process could result in 250 gTLDs by the end of 2010 and, many more thereafter. Since the idea was floated in 2008, trademark owners have complained that ICANN is opening up new opportunities for "cybersquatters" who buy trademark-infringing domains, while others have accused it of bending over backwards to give large trademark owners unfair new rights and powers in cyberspace.

ICANN heard a lot of these criticisms - and defended itself robustly - at a meeting in London yesterday, designed to guide the process of issuing and protecting new gTLDs. Formal presentations and comments from the floor were heard at the meeting, in London's Royal Institute of British Architects.
"Who will administer the dot-london domain?" asked Lesley Cowley, chief executive of Nominet, the body that already aministers the dot-uk domain. "And will it be done according to local needs, or the ideas of someone based in the US?"

Which brands will win?

Others pointed out the difficulty of administering the claims of companies with the same name. For instance, Sun Microsystems could get its own gTLD, but might have to compete with the Sun newspaper within other new domains, such as dot-media, but ICANN believes the situation may actually improve when the new domains appear.

"It is possible that brands may have less need to defend their brand," said Doug Brent, chief operating officer of ICANN. For people looking for IBM, the dot-ibm domain would be the obvious place to go, so there would be no incentive for cybersquatters to buy related domains in the dot-com gTLD, he said.

gTLDs would not be US-biased, said Brent, because in the event of disputes, ICANN would work with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a UN agency which negotiates world trademark rules: "We want the process to be between the applicant and the objector," he said.

Trademark-owners and Internet users are scared, but ICANN wants to press ahead with a move to allow an unlimited number of Internet domains

WIPO is already involved in ICANN's Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and has been involved in more than 15,000 cases. By effectively outsourcing the gTLD trademark issues to WIPO, ICANN hopes to sidestep criticisms of its US bias.

WIPO support

"This is a watershed moment in the domain-name system," Eun-Joo Min, head of the legal development section at WIPO, told the meeting. "Adequate safeguards need to be put in place," she said, elaborating WIPO's input to the gTLD process.

While the legal departments of some firms fear the new gTLDs, their marketing departments are gearing up to use them, said Brent. "In the next ten years, the Internet could be very different. We won't have a flat namespace with millions of tiny registries, because registries have to be available 24x7, but there could be thousands of gTLDs."

Alongside that change, ICANN itself is going to have to change said Brent, although he dismissed calls earlier this from European Commissioner Viviane Reding, for ICANN to sever its ties to the US government. The organisation is becoming more international under its new head Rod Beckstrom, he said.

"Rod wants to make us more accessible," said Brent. "We have offices internationally, and in ten years we will probably have an office in North China." The Joint Project Agreement, under which ICANN operates, is due for renewal this summer, and he expects it to be a formality.

gTLD controversies

The most controversial part of the proposals for new gTLDs is an IP clearinghouse, which would contain a database of all trademarks and the countries in which they are held, against which applications could be checked.
Within this would be a smaller list of "global" brands, called the Globally Protected Marks List (GPML) which critics say would be able to block anyone else from using "their" name.

"In fact, opposition has been blown up," said Nick Wood, managing director of registry Com Laude, who helped develop the proposal. "The proposed GPML would be a very small subset, of 'supernova' trademarks, which are held in more than 150 countries. There are probably only 100 or 200 of these, and the impact would be minimal."

For instance, he said, even if a brand like Lufthansa was on the list (which it wouldn't be), a coffee shop using that name would still get the domain.

Another proposal, for uniform rapid suspension, would allow trademark holders to quickly take infringing websites offline. The debate discussed whether this allowed sufficient protection to people unfairly accused of infringement.

Successful consultation

Overall, ICANN's consultation produced a lot of detailed argument and much broad agreement. The day ended with an atmosphere of anticipation for the final arrival of the new gTLD process next year, said Wood. 

whois .gov anyway? 

Published: July 12, 2009

PARIS — The U.S.-based agency that regulates Internet addresses, facing criticism that it is too America-centric, remains the best guardian of a “single, unified, global Internet,” according its new chief executive.

Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Rod Beckstrom spoke after he was announced as the next chief executive of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in June.

Rod Beckstrom, a technology entrepreneur and former U.S. government Internet security official, took over this month as head of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, succeeding Paul Twomey, an Australian.

As use of the Internet expands around the world, there have been rising calls for a new way of overseeing some of its basic functions, including the allocation of domain suffixes like .com and .org. This duty, and other important technical functions, have been in the hands of Icann, a private, nonprofit organization based in Marina Del Rey, California, for the past decade, under an agreement with the U.S. Commerce Department.

“There will always be different voices out there, but the ultimate proof that Icann is functioning properly is that the Internet is functioning properly,” Mr. Beckstrom said by telephone last week.

One critic of Icann, the European Union media and telecommunications commissioner, Viviane Reding, recently called for a severing of Icann’s links with the U.S. government when the current agreement with the Commerce Department expires this autumn. Instead, she proposed the creation of a “G-12 for Internet governance” to oversee an independent Icann.

“In the long run, it is not defendable that the government department of only one country has oversight of an Internet function which is used by hundreds of millions of people in countries all over the world,” Ms. Reding said in May.

Ms. Reding also called for the creation of an “independent, international tribunal” to review Icann decisions.

Now, any legal challenges generally occur in California courts.

“California law is good law for technology,” Mr. Beckstrom said.

He said that at a recent Icann meeting in Sydney, there had been discussion of creating an international subsidiary of the organization, possibly based in Switzerland. But he said he would oppose efforts to fragment Icann.

“Everyone can’t have it their own way and have it unified,” Mr. Beckstrom said. “Part of the power of the Internet is that the standards that parties have to agree on are so minimal.”

Icann has moved over the years to give itself a more international profile, holding three major meetings a year outside the United States. Gatherings are also planned for Seoul in October and Nairobi next March.

The organization’s Governmental Advisory Committee, which has representatives from more than 80 countries, has been trying to broaden its membership. China, for instance, recently agreed to rejoin the committee after a five-year absence, Mr. Beckstrom said.

Now he is trying to woo another big holdout, Russia. Mr. Beckstrom said he hoped that a plan to allow Internet domain names to be rendered in Cyrillic, set to begin next year, would help.

The move to embrace Cyrillic addresses, along with other scripts like Arabic and Chinese, is part of a broader drive by Icann to open up the domain naming system, an initiative that also has its critics.

The organization plans to start adding large numbers of new address suffixes, or “global top-level domains,” next year, making it possible to register city or company names like .paris or .nestle.

While Icann says the creation of new addresses will help accommodate the international diversification of the Internet, some companies worry that the process will make it harder to protect their brand names. The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, a group based in Washington and representing multinational marketers, says the expansion of domain names could lead to a rise in the practice known as cybersquatting.

Joshua Bourne, president of the coalition, called for Icann to “halt all current or future policy initiatives” until a commission, appointed by the U.S. president or Congress, and consisting of government, academic and business representatives, had reviewed its operations. Mr. Bourne said Icann was too beholden to companies that sell and manage actual domain names on behalf of Web sites.

Mr. Beckstrom is no stranger to conflict. In March, he left his previous job, as head of the U.S. National Cyber Security Center, part of the Homeland Security Department, saying he feared the National Security Agency was seeking too much influence at the center.

Before that, Mr. Beckstrom was a technology entrepreneur, starting a company in 1984 that created derivatives trading software, which he sold in 1999. He said he intended to take a pragmatic approach to his new job, rather than moving Icann in new directions.

“There is a lot to do,” he said. “My focus very much is going to be to support the execution of these primary tasks.”

Internet regulator mulls cybersquatting block

The Associated Press - Anick Jesdanun - ýJul 13, 2009ý

The proposed trademark database comes as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, is trying to widely expand the number of ...

Fears Greet ICANN's New ...

ICANN names new CEO

CNET News - Lance Whitney - ýJun 26, 2009ý

Former US cybersecurity official Rod Beckstrom has been named the new CEO and president of ICANN. His appointment was announced at the ...

Brokering Peace Between Brand Owners and Domainers

New York Times - Saul Hansell - ýJul 14, 2009ý

Like much that Icann does, it was a raucous affair, with people from big companies complaining about the evils of cybersquatting while those representing ...











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