Number of Trademark Clearinghouse (TC) providers
- To: sti-report-2009@xxxxxxxxx, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl@xxxxxxx>
- Subject: Number of Trademark Clearinghouse (TC) providers
- From: Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010 11:54:11 +0000
Having been part of the STI Working Team, as the At Large alternate, I
support all of the contents of the report.
That said, I would like to point out one item which I feel needs
mentioning, but which has not made it to the final report. The views I
express here are entirely my own and do not reflect the consensus views
of the STI-WT, nor the consensus views of At Large.
I am speaking about the number of Trademark Clearinghouse (TC) providers.
Whilst the original IRT report did not specify whether the Validation of
the trademarks included in the TC and the database maintenance element
of the TC should be separated or not, the ICANN staff proposals
recommended two providers, in order to introduce additional safeguards
in the process.
Given that the two functions are separate and distinct functions, that
they each call upon a different skillset, that a concentration of
responsibility resulting from control of both functions by a single
provider might ease the possibility of process capture, I also recommend
that these functions shall be performed by entirely different providers.
A validation service provider should not be able to maintain the
database. Similarly, the provider maintaining the database should not be
able to also offer a validation service. This separation of functions
should extend to affiliates of the respective providers.
I am basing this argument whilst looking at the wider picture. The
Trademark Clearinghouse function will grow as ICANN grows. A
concentration of power under one roof (database maintenance +
verification of marks by a single provider), gives all the cards to
build one potentially very powerful organisation. The STI report
mentions the possibility of having regional validation providers, but
these ultimately risk being smothered by the database + verification
combo entity. This might result in a monopoly - and a service provider
which could become a monster and do ICANN great harm.
In emphasizing that the views I express here are entirely my own, I
trust that the Board will consider my comments carefully.
Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond, PhD