Are the top level domain names .shop and .通販 likely to confuse a reasonable internet user?
Certainly not visually. Nor aurally.
They also don’t mean the same thing. According to fluent Japanese speakers, 通販 used to be the term for catalog/mail order shopping, and later encompassed online shopping.
Yet panelist Robert Nau found them too similar in a string confusion objection filed by Commercial Connect against Amazon.com, applicant for the Japanese string.
It was perhaps the most baffling decision in all of the new top level domain name objection proceedings.
Now, a three member International Centre for Dispute Resolutions panel has reversed (pdf) the original decision.
The panel found that Nau “could not have reasonably come to the decision it reached” and that he “failed to meet [his] burden of proving that” the two strings would cause probable confusion in the mind of the average, reasonable internet user.
If there’s ever a chance to file an objection against another domain blog, I think Nau would find Domain Name Wire too similar to Domain Incite.
The reversal comes as part of a limited review of two string confusion objections.