WASHINGTON, September 11, 2012 – The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA), along with over fifty additional major, multinational companies, urges the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and other members of the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to work with the ICANN Board to require that all new operators of open registries in the New gTLD Program incorporate a perpetual block option or a Domain Protected Marks List (DPML) into their applications, in a letter submitted yesterday.
“A ‘perpetual block’ would allow companies to protect their brands and consumers from cybersquatting in an open gTLD for a smaller and more scalable sum,” explained Josh Bourne, President of CADNA. “Instead of requiring companies to register domain names containing their trademarks and pay yearly renewal fees, a block option just requires paying a one-time fee to block the name in perpetuity, much like the option ICM Registry offered in its launch of .XXX. Internet users who navigated to blocked names would be greeted with a notice that the name was blocked, and the company would not have the option of using it unless it changed to the traditional renewal fee model.”
“A DPML, which blocks third parties from registering permutations of domain names that contain trademarks registered with the DPML for a fee and validated against the Trademark Clearinghouse, is another best practice that has emerged in new gTLD applications,” said Bourne.
Several applicants have already voluntarily included a block or a DPML in their applications. However, there are approximately 400 “open,” generic-term gTLD registry applications that do not have such a block or DPML option and are therefore risks of becoming havens for cybersquatting activity.
A perpetual block or DPML option would greatly reduce the costs of defensive registrations and better equip brand owners to deal with the vastly expanded space that new gTLDs will create. Brand owners have been struggling to protect their brands and stay ahead of cybersquatters for well over a decade and are now at the point of exhaustion. Businesses cannot possibly budget to protect their brands and their customers in a space that is potentially 40 times greater than the current online world. As a result, both business and consumers will suffer from the increased opportunity for bad actors to register in their stead.
CADNA’s perpetual block recommendation was also included in a separate letter generated by attendees of a brand owner summit meeting held on June 11, 2012 and signed by CADNA, the International Trademark Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. The six recommendations contained in this letter, which was delivered to the NTIA and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on August 29, 2012, were the main topic of conversation at a meeting held by the NTIA and USPTO on September 5, 2012. This meeting, the third in a series of collaborations between the U.S. government and the business community, is an excellent example of cooperation between the public and private sectors. Cooperation and collaboration between the public and private sectors are key to the efficacy of the multi-stakeholder system of Internet governance. As a result of these meetings, companies are better positioned to participate in and improve the ICANN process.
The collaborative meeting resulted in the general consensus that, because the receipt of applications for over 1,400 unique gTLDs far outpaced ICANN’s initial expectations for the New gTLD Program, the organization must reevaluate requirements for Rights Protection Mechanisms in order to promote a safe and flourishing Internet.