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SportAccord response to RPM Comments

  • To: "comments-rpm-requirements-06aug13@xxxxxxxxx" <comments-rpm-requirements-06aug13@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: SportAccord response to RPM Comments
  • From: Pierre Germeau <Pierre.Germeau@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 17:16:33 +0200

SportAccord recognizes the central importance of rights protection mechanisms 
in the context of new gTLDs. As many commenters have pointed out, and as some 
of the proposed amendments in ICANN's draft RPM Requirements recognize, there 
are many kinds of legitimate rights associated with domain names.

All of these rights must be protected, whether they take the form of trademarks 
or collective rights associated with local or global communities.

One of the key reasons why SportAccord applied for the .sport TLD is precisely 
to protect legitimate rights, many of which do not have adequate shelter in 
trademark law or ICANN's UDRP or URS procedures. These include, among other 

- trademark rights
- protection against ambush marketing
- protection of acronyms of sports federations (e.g. "fia.org")
- collective rights in denominations of sport disciplines (e.g. "fencing.sport")
- collective rights in denominations of international sport federations (e.g. 
- collective rights in indirect designators of sport events (e.g. 
"worldcup.sport", " )
- collective rights in geographic names or toponyms in a sport context (e.g. 
"glasgow.sport" or "chicago.basketball" or "valais.ski")

These rights have a complex structure and, in the case of the .sport TLD, can 
only be administered correctly by a specialized, community-based registry.

The registry must proactively conduct research into the underlying lexicon, 
reach out to the stakeholders and provide advanced solutions. It must go far 
beyond the old habits in the domain name industry, and far beyond a 
one-size-fits-all TMCH.

Innovative community-based business models, such as domain names administered 
under mandate, are a key not only for the beneficial development of the TLD, 
but also for the protection of community and trademark stakeholders.

The TMCH can be a helpful ingredient if and only if RPM rules treat the TMCH as 
a way to help protect existing rights, available to rights holders at their 

However, ICANN's current draft RPM requirements designate the TMCH as a 
compulsory - and sometimes costly - passage for rights holders, while 
inappropriately creating new rights for some parties. This could cause a 
destructive distortion, especially against collective rights, against fair use 
and in favour of trickery.

As demonstrated by the recent debate about TLDs like .vin or .wine, a TLD can 
be highly community-sensitive in the context of geographic terms or other 
community-targeting vocabulary, irrespective of whether the TLD was designated 
as community-based by the applicant.

The first step for ICANN is to avoid regulations that disrupt correct rights 
protection. The second is to require to state that RPMs must cover the 
intrinsic specific needs  the respective TLD string and the communities 
affected by it. TMCH integration should be a necessary condition, but not a 
sufficient condition, for a clean bill of health in this respect.

Pierre Germeau
Head of Digital Media


Mr. Pierre Germeau I Head of Digital Media I SportAccord
Maison du Sport International I Avenue de Rhodanie 54 I CH-1007 Lausanne I 
Tel +41.(0)21.612.30.82 I Fax +41.(0)21.612.30.71 I Mobile +41.(0)79.707.32.87

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