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In the largest URS decision to date, the National Arbitration Forum has suspended 474 domains using marks owned by Ashley Furniture Industries. The decision comes at a time when the URS, alongside other rights protection mechanisms, is under review, with brand owners being urged to act now to shape the online enforcement environment of tomorrow.
New research from The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse has revealed the extent of identity squatting targeting this year’s presidential election candidates, as well as members of the US Congress and Senate.
Brands unleash scathing review of ‘.feedback’ top-level domain; seek investigation against registry (updated)
A collective of brands filed a public interest commitment dispute resolution procedure (PICDRP) complaint with ICANN this week, seeking a review into an allegedly “escalating pattern of discriminatory, fraudulent and deceptive registry misconduct” by the operators of the ‘.feedback’ gTLD. The move marks an escalation of the long-standing tensions between trademark owners and the registry.
This week the ‘.shop’ gTLD hit general availability, with the registry behind the string revealing that it registered almost 40,000 domains in the first 30 minutes of sales. Watchers of the expanded online space particularly trademark owners seeking to gauge the need for defensive registrations have been awaiting the launch of strings that go truly mainstream. So is the early performance of ‘.shop’ a sign that the blockbusters are now arriving?
New research has shed light on the strategies being adopted by ‘.brand’ operators, with a threefold increase in the number of second-level domain names in the brand environment observed in the first half of this year. However, the prevalence of redirects and domains with no content means that search engine results listing ‘.brands’ are not following the same upward trajectory.
Collaborate now, reduce litigation later: ICANN community urged to reach agreement on IP abuse provisions
In a letter to the Intellectual Property Constituency, ICANN has clarified that, while it will act to ensure that required contractual provisions related to abusive behaviour are included in registry-registrar agreements, its obligation to take action on IP infringing activity ends there. However, World Trademark Review has been told that the issue is “far from resolved”, with the hope that “fruitful” community collaboration will result in a satisfactory outcome.
An ongoing dispute between Vox Populi, the registry operating the ‘.sucks’ top-level domain, and Com Laude has led to the termination of the latter’s accreditation as a registrar of ‘.sucks’ domains. Vox Populi mantains that the decision resulted from a “specific breach of contract”, but Com Laude has announced that it is considering further action. The company also expressed its “hope that all brand owners will think twice before buying or renewing a ‘.sucks’ domain”.
At time of writing, according to ntldstats.com there have been 21,251,190 domain name registrations across 1,013 new gTLDs. Registrations have been on an upward trajectory since the launch of the programme in early 2014, and the line getting steeper as more TLDs go live. However, over the last week things have sped up significantly, with almost three million registrations added in three days.
Speaking at this week’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), taking place in Geneva, the head of ICANN’s global domains division has pointed to 2020 as the earliest realistic timeframe for the next round of new gTLD applications. However, questions remain as to whether it will be a round or a permanent window.
Domain industry group outlines self-regulation vision: “Tobacco industry did nothing and regulation was thrust on it”
The prospect of a voluntary copyright and piracy rights protection mechanism, akin to the Trademark Clearinghouse, has been floated by the recently launched Healthy Domains Initiative. While this will raise questions about content policing responsibilities in some quarters, it is a move that many rights holders will welcome.
The 2016 edition of Online Brand Enforcement: Protecting Your Trademarks in the Electronic Environment is now available to view online.
For the first World Trademark Review podcast of 2016, we speak to the new president of INTA, Ronald van Tuijl. In a wide-ranging interview, we cover everything from plain packaging and the internationalisation of INTA to the EU trademark reforms and internet governance.
Opening this year’s Com Laude Domain Conference, managing director Nick Wood acknowledged that “it has been a slow start” for the ongoing expansion of the new gTLDs program. However, as well as examining the possible reasons for this sluggish start, conference delegates also received an overview of the factors that could lead to increased profile and take-up in the near future.
The focus on the next round of new gTLD applications has often centred on the ‘when’. However, the ‘what’ is increasingly being discussed; namely, what form it will take another round or a continuous window? Google has thrown its weight behind the latter, urging ICANN to abandon the concept of application rounds.
The ‘.feedback’ TLD, which aims to “solidify a positive and recognisable reputation as the best TLD for finding product information, whether it is positive or negative”, is currently in sunrise. However, the president of ICANN’s IP Constituency has told World Trademark Review that the pricing structure appears to “treat trademark owners as cash cows to be milked as aggressively and as often as possible”.
This week at the ICANN meeting in Dublin, one hot button issue has been responsibility for combatting abuse and illegal activity online. The debate has been intense, with ICANN and registrars seeking to avoid a ‘content policing’ role. This week’s discussions have also highlighted a fracture between the IP community and registrar stakeholders.
This week the ICANN board approved the proposed renewal of the registry agreements for the .travel’, ‘.pro’ and ‘.cat’ legacy TLDs, giving the green light for use of the Uniform Rapid Suspension system (URS) to be extended to the strings. However, addressing previous opposition to such a move, it stated that extension of the URS to other legacy TLDs is far from automatic, being dependent on the string operators themselves wishing to do so.
ICANN has published its first Global Registrant Survey, which reveals that almost half of domain name registrants are unaware of cybersquatting. The findings evidence the uphill battle facing trademark counsel as they seek to ensure that internet users are not duped by those seeking to exploit their marks.
ICM Registry’s ‘.sex’ string has opened for sunrise, with the company stepping up its outreach to trademark counsel and the Trademark Clearinghouse predicting an uptick in trademark submissions.
This week NetNames has reached out to the media to highlight its complaint to the European Competition Commission over Vox Populi’s pricing policies for the ‘.sucks’ string. Whether the complaint succeeds where previous referrals to the US Federal Trade Commission and Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs failed remains to be seen, but the CEO of Vox Populi has hit out at the “misunderstandings” that persist about the company’s plans.
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