ICANN General Counsel's Opinion vs. Reality
Date: Tuesday December 03 2002, @12:09PM
Topic: New gTLDs

jberryhill writes "In a "quick-look" evaluation of RegistryPro's discovery of the principle that a turkey of a new TLD may still be able to extract "protection" money from nervous trademark owners, ICANN's General Counsel demonstrates the need for the "new TLD evaluation process" to provide him with some reality therapy."

In the introduction of .info and .biz, two very different approaches were taken. Afilias conducted a "sunrise period" for anyone with the ability to type a fake TM registration number. .biz on the other hand conducted an IP claim service, which actually required TM claimants to prove their assertions if they felt a need to block a suspect domain registration. The overall results of the .biz STOP policy are worth a "quick look", since the lessons learned from the different treatment of .info and .biz were entirely lost on ICANN's General Counsel.

Without any factual evidence, Touton concludes:

"In fact, the offering of defensive registrations appears likely to minimize some of the start-up issues that can arise in a TLD's introduction. Giving those with registered trademark rights a simple vehicle to block conflicting registrations should minimize the potential for one type of lawsuit that can complicate a TLD's introduction."

Of course, the only type of lawsuit that was filed upon the launch of .info and .biz was due to ICANN's approval of a lottery for .biz. As for controversy, though, the sunrise Afiliasco was a feeding frenzy of fraud which has never adequately been straightened out. On the .biz end of things, of course there were a few really bad .biz STOP decisions, but the last time anyone counted, it turned out that domain name registrants prevailed in the majority of .biz STOP disputes at WIPO. Based on the .biz STOP results, it is quantitatively clear that offering such a mechanism produces more frivolous trademark claims than meritorious ones. It also exposes the registry to potential liability for mishandling the startup procedure, as Afilias came very close to learning.

The .biz STOP results, and the mass sunrise challenges that Afilias conducted in order to purge some (but by no means all) of the fraudulent sunrise claims, clearly demonstrate that if you give people half a chance to engage in pre-emptive measures to block domain name registrations, they will lie and they will bring claims which have no merit more often than not.

Even in the gTLDS, the proportion of UDRP-challenged domain names to total domain name registrations is on the order of .02%. Meanwhile, one of the greatest threats to domain registration stability - ICANN's total failure to implement a registrar data escrow program - merits no attention at all, because for some reason we need to obsess over an issue that is relevant to a tiny fraction of domain name registrations.

ICANN's counsel is correct that maybe every registry proposal does not require a full proctological workup, but if registry proposals are going to be approved on a "quick look" basis, it would be worthwhile to have that look made by someone who has been watching the real world.

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Re: Much ado about nothing
by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Tuesday December 03 2002, @10:57PM (#10403)
User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
How, exactly, can you claim to know how widely used this domain will be, given that it has not yet been made available for registration?
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  • This article comes from ICANNWatch
    http://www.icannwatch.org/

    The URL for this story is:
    http://www.icannwatch.org/article.pl?sid=02/12/03/160928