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The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse has responded to concerns that its proposals to strengthen US anti-cybersquatting legislation would give trademark owners an unfair advantage over domainers in disputes regarding domain ownership.
2012 was another record year in terms of the number of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) complaints, posing the question of exactly what impact the expanded online space will have on trademark counsels’ workloads.
Following in the footsteps of Facebook and Google+, Amazon is set to rollout its own ‘brand pages’ service. The Amazon Pages initiative will expand the company’s online retailing focus by providing a third-party platform for brand owners to market their own products and might also explain some of the company’s applications to run new gTLDs. WTR examines the key issues that trademark counsel should consider.
Disputes adjudicated at WIPO hit a record-breaking 2,944 per annum in July this year, a 6% increase on last year. This news comes as no great surprise to trademark practitioners, who have experienced the steady increase of cybersquatting first hand. But while these figures will be worrying news, brand protection strategies are evolving to fight the ever-changing threat posed by cybersquatters.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group’s latest report on phishing trends during the first quarter of 2012 has found that, while brand owners have become increasingly vigilant in their defence against the problem, the perpetrators have likewise grown more sophisticated. WTR considers what brand owners can do to combat this ever more complex problem.
Over the past few months, Google has made a series of changes to its search algorithm. In this continuing move towards semantic search, brands will need to focus even more than before on reviewing their engagement with consumers. Search based on social connections and relevancy of content may also offer benefits in the fight against trademark infringement and counterfeiting.
Opponents to ICANN’s rollout of new gTLDs were given another opportunity to air their concerns at government level yesterday, but US senators suggest that the time to effect substantive changes to the programme has passed. The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is now urging a focus on policy improvement.
With the ICANN community meeting in Senegal, more details have emerged about the proposed Trademark Clearinghouse with concerns over data integrity and language capability.
Today is the first day that trademark owners can apply to block valuable brand names from the forthcoming ‘.xxx’ domain name space. Mark owners participating in the 50-day sunrise period will be paying up to $300 per block. For those mark owners who take the risk and forego the sunrise, a post-launch recovery will cost $1,300, plus lawyers’ fees of up to $2,000 or more.
Today the comment period on the preliminary proposal not to re-open the UDRP for policy development comes to an end. The sense among trademark owners and their supporters is that they will fight any review to the last, perhaps because the IP community was not entirely successful at securing the rights protection mechanisms it wanted to see adopted for new gTLDs.
Peter Dengate Thrush divides the ICANN community: while many see him as the kind of strong-minded ringleader a multi-stakeholder policy development process requires, others slam him for skipping the concerns of trademark owners and governments in order to hand the domain name industry a liberalised marketplace. This week, Dengate Thrush came to the end of his term as ICANN’s chairman during an extraordinary ICANN meeting in Singapore at which the new gTLD progrmme was approved. WTR spoke to him about the contentious policy development process and how the IP community can continue to work within the multi-stakeholder model.
The footprint of the trademark community in ICANN’s new gTLD policy is deep and defined. ICANN approved its controversial programme just this week after years of intense policy development from countless stakeholders. While it is without doubt that trademark owners had a small but loud voice in the process, they are now evaluating the extent of their success and, after such a tortuous experience, some are wondering how they can ever work within the ICANN model again.
ICANN’s board has approved the expansion of the generic top-level domain (gTLD) space. The board rejected advice from the world’s governments, including their recommendations regarding trademark protection, and announced that ICANN will accept applications for new gTLDs from January 2012. In a typically abstract statement, ICANN’s president said the change will “serve all of mankind”.
ICANN has published a report proposing that full-scale review of the UDRP is not recommended. Trademark owners who already feel beleaguered by new gTLD policy development and forthcoming expansion will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief at the news.
Opting out of sex sells, apparently. This month’s top blog story on WTR Daily asked brand owners how much they would pay to block their trademark from the ‘.xxx’ domain space. In this story, WTR revealed how ICM Registry plans to help trademark owners protect their rights from the controversial top-level domain name for adult entertainment. Some details are still yet to be announced in particular, the post-launch protection mechanisms and WTR will follow the story every step of the way.
The US Congress has called a hearing into ICANN’s new gTLDs programme. The hearing, scheduled for May 4, is likely to address trademark owners’ concerns over the domain name space expansion, among other topics.
ICANN has said it is “committed” to requiring evidence of use for trademark owners who wish to use their rights for new gTLD pre-launch protection. That trademarks will therefore need to be validated will inevitably lead some to argue that the process creates a new legal right.
Within the space of a few days, both WIPO and the US Congress have considered proposals for a global notice and takedown procedure to stop websites that infringe trademarks. While brand owners continue to push for new measures the political mechanisms needed to introduce such a policy are apparently very slow indeed.
Trademark owners are digesting last week’s ICANN meeting in San Francisco, during which the ICANN board and its Government Advisory Committee (GAC) drilled deeper into their disagreements over rights protection mechanisms for new gTLDs. To test the water of the ICANN community at large, WTR has cast its net wider than ever before to hear last-minute questions over the proposals.
Trademarks have yet again been the flashpoint of discussions between various ICANN constituencies this week as they meet in San Francisco to continue new gTLD policy development. As it looks increasingly likely that consensus will not be reached, the ICANN board may just have to make a call on the specifics of the rights protection mechanisms.
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