WIPO decides on scope of UDRP protection

International

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) member states have made a number of important decisions on issues raised in the Report of the Second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process regarding extension of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). The decisions are based on the recommendations of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications.

The most important decisions are the following:

  • No specific form of protection is recommended at this time for international non-proprietary names for pharmaceutical substances.

  • In the absence of an internationally harmonized scheme for the protection of trade names, the UDRP will not be extended to include the abusive registration of trade names as domain names.

  • The UDRP will not be extended to cover geographical identifiers. Although some member states thought this matter required urgent attention, others took the view that a number of fundamental questions need to be addressed, particularly the lack of relevant international standards.

  • Taking into account the privileges and immunities of international intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) under international law, the UDRP will be modified to enable IGOs to object to the registration or use of their name or abbreviation as a domain name if this is likely to suggest to the public a connection between the domain name holder and the IGO.

  • Protection will be available against the registration or use of a domain name that is identical or misleadingly similar to a country name (including the formal or short name of a country or other names by which a country is commonly known), where the (i) domain name holder has no rights or legitimate interests in the name, and (ii) the domain name is likely to mislead users into believing that there is an association between the domain name holder and the constitutional authorities of the country in question.

Robert A MacDonald and Eric Macramalla, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Ottawa

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