Comments of The Coca-Cola Company to the April 2011 Discussion Draft of the gTLD Applicant Guidebook
The Coca-Cola Company ("TCCC") submits the following comments to the gTLD Applicant Guidebook - April 2011 Discussion Draft. As expressed in its prior comments, TCCC believes that the present plan to launch hundreds of new gTLDs all at once is both flawed and unnecessary. There is inadequate evidence supporting the alleged demand for such a launch, and there are no effective measurements of the possible effect of such a launch on consumers, rights holders and the many other members of the Internet community. Clearly, the Internet community would be better served by ICANN if the new gTLDs are rolled out in both a controlled and a measured manner, with first priority given to those gTLDs for which there is a demonstrated need -- such as IDNs in non-Latin scripts that will be used by billions of people, as opposed to yet additional alternatives to .com -- and with mechanisms in place to assess the possible benefits and adverse effects of the new gTLDs and the adequacy of the proposed Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs). TCCC recognizes that the RPMs have improved since the initial ICANN proposals and continue to improve with each draft of the Applicant Guidebook. Nevertheless, no one should be fooled into thinking that the RPMs currently in place adequately address the trademark abuse and fraud that already occur on a widespread scale with the limited number of gTLDs currently in place and that will undoubtedly occur on a much broader scale with the addition of hundreds of new gTLDs. TCCC therefore again requests further consideration of the following issues: * The Uniform Rapid Suspension ("URS") procedure should be more robust. The remedy should not be limited to a suspension of the domain; instead the domain should be turned over to the objector so that the brand owner is not faced with a similar problem once the suspension ends. And if the point of the URS proceeding is to address blatant abuse such as a site selling counterfeits or engaging in fraudulent phishing schemes, then the domain should not be allowed to continue to resolve to the abusive website once the proceeding is initiated and passes the initial administrative review. Instead, internet access should be promptly disabled. * The Trademark Clearinghouse should be used to vet more than just identical trademark matches. There is no reason to limit the match to identical hits when the technology exists to address broader matches that are still clear infringements such as the trademark used with the corresponding generic term. At a minimum, there is no reason why trademark claims notices could not be provided for applications that seek to register domain names containing the letter string comprised of the registered mark along with other terms. * The IRT proposal of a Globally Protected Marks List was summarily dismissed by ICANN without full consideration. TCCC continues to believe that a Globally Protected Marks List would greatly assist the community in addressing some of the problems likely to be faced by brand owners when hundreds of new gTLDs are introduced. Criteria for establishing fame already exist in many countries. Procedures can be put in place to address determinations of eligibility for inclusion on the list and any special exceptions to the application of the marks on a list to a particular gTLD. TCCC again urges ICANN to more carefully study the various issues raised by this major change before implementing the program on a wide scale. Submitted by Kathleen E. McCarthy, as counsel for The Coca-Cola Company One Coca-Cola Plaza Atlanta GA 30313 ________________________________ King & Spalding Confidentiality Notice: This message is being sent by or on behalf of a lawyer. It is intended exclusively for the individual or entity to which it is addressed. This communication may contain information that is proprietary, privileged or confidential or otherwise legally exempt from disclosure. If you are not the named addressee, you are not authorized to read, print, retain, copy or disseminate this message or any part of it. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately by e-mail and delete all copies of the message.