Implementation Recommendation Team suggests drastic changes to existing protections for IP holders.
The Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT), formed by ICANN’s Intellectual Property Constituency, has released its preliminary report (pdf) of suggested safeguards for trademark holders in light of the introduction of new top level domain names.
The closed door and controversial group suggested a number of drastic changed from current trademark policy for domain names. Among the suggestions:
Create an IP clearinghouse and Globally Protected Marks List with added protection for IP holders
Rights holders could submit IP to the clearinghouse. This would be used during the sunrise process for new TLDs and would also alert rights holders to registrations using their marks.
The Globally Protected Marks List would allow holders of worldwide marks to have them added to a “white list”. This would afford fairly solid protection for the use of the mark at the top and second levels. The requirements to be included are steep: ownership of the trademark issued in at least 90 countries across multiple regions with 200 registrations, must be issued before November 2008, registered the trademark across 50 or more TLDs, and the second level domain for the main company must be identical to the mark. I assume this would include names like “Verizon” but exclude “Cosmopolitan”.
Introduce a new Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) that operates in addition to UDRP
URS would be a “rapid takedown” system that allows trademark holders to avoid the time delay and costs of UDRP. It would address “obvious” cases and would have a higher threshold for the complainant to win than UDRP.
The domain becomes locked but still functional after a complaint is filed. The domain owner has 14 days to respond and say he or she wants it reviewed and state his case. If he loses, the domain will remain locked and will not resolve for the duration of the registration period.
IRT thinks the typical case will take 15 minutes to review.
Ironically, National Arbitration Forum and WIPO will likely be opposed to this idea as it would essentially kill 90% of their business. The guidelines state that a UDRP provider will not be a URS provider. Since 90% of UDRP cases are clear-cut, only the 10% of questionable ones will make it through. This will make the work or arbitrators much more challenging and will cut their work load substantially.
Mark my words — if URS doesn’t go through or is substantially changed it’s because these organizations fought it.
Requirement of “thick” whois system
Registries would have to hold all registrant information themselves (rather than the registrar as is the case with .com and .net). Whois privacy would have limits.
The comment period technically runs through May 24, but you need to submit comments by May 6 for them to be considered for the final report.