WIPO to ICANN: Please make country names UDRPable.
Date: Saturday May 03 2003, @01:43PM
Topic: Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP)

tlr writes "Some of the results of the WIPO2 process are currently on their way through ICANN's processes: In a letter from 21 February 2003, WIPO's Francis Gurry has transmitted requests to ICANN to extend the UDRP to apply to (1) country names, and (2) the names and acronyms of intergovernmental organizations ("IGOs"), without any regard to the (non)existence of trademark protection. One of the problems with these recommendations is that they are not backed by sufficient international legal consensus -- ICANN would have to assume the role of a law-making body and create new rights and protections. This is even recognized in WIPO´s own report, which concludes that these kinds of recommendations should not be implemented through ICANN. For a recent example (puertorico.com) which illustrates the lack of uniformity in this field, and some related absurdity, take a look at Wendy Seltzer's blog."

Inside ICANN, the Board has solicited advice on this from its supporting organizations and advisory committees, to be submitted no later than 12 May 2003.

With respect to timeliness, the GAC has been leading on this issue: In section 4 of its Rio de Janeiro Communiqué, the GAC endorses WIPO's recommendations, and advises the board to implement them. The GAC also suggests to set up a "joint working group" to look at implementation details.

The GNSO Council has discussed the topic relatively briefly during its telephone conference on 17 April 2003 (draft minutes here), and has resolved to advise the board that the WIPO2 recommendations should be considered separately from UDRP review. The Council also advises the board that the recommendations "be subject to a policy-development process to look at how [they] can be implemented, taking into acccount a thorough examination of the issues surrounding the recommendations."

The At-Large Advisory Committee has posted a draft statement for public comment (comments can be submitted to forum@alac.icann.org and are archived here; this is an opportunity to contribute to ICANN's record on the topic!). In that draft statement, the ALAC elaborates on the non-uniformity concerns cited above, argues that implementation of WIPO's recommendations would be lawmaking and out of ICANN's scope, and recommends that (1) the WIPO2 recommendations be handled separately from UDRP review, and (2) policy-development should (if at all) only proceed where there is sufficient legal consensus. There's also an annex which asks some questions about individual recommendations.

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