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Username: jeweyjewman
Date/Time: Sun, July 15, 2001 at 3:23 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V4.01 using Windows 98
Subject: Trademark 'Squatters'  Pillaging .INFO ...

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For those hoping to get ... or even apply for ... a good .info domain you can just about forget it if you don't have a trademark. ICANN has allowed a loophole which allows trademark holders, including holders of artwork that contains a text of a generic word, to get the domain associated with the word within the artwork.

The first signs of what is happening can be seen via the Tucows system. Reservations for the opening of the Sunrise and Landrush periods are being taken. But, if there is already an order queued under Sunrise there is no point in accepting an application for Landrush because the domain will never make it that far. I have only tested a few but domains such as privacy.info, consumer.info, music.info, pets.info, movies.info, and whois.info are already queued up for Sunrise registration at Tucows.
The ICANN-approved loophole is found at:

http://www.icann.org/tlds/agreements/info/registry- agmt-appj-11may01.htm

"In order for trademark and service mark owners to qualify to receive a registration during the Sunrise Period (a "Sunrise Registration"), the following information must be provided to Registry Operator: (i) the ASCII characters name of the trademark or service mark; (ii) the date the registration issued; (iii) the country of registration; and (iv) the registration number."

The loophole is that trademarks are often not issued based on "ASCII characters name of the trademark or service mark" but are based on artwork that happens to contain a generic term.

Another loophole in the rules would allow anyone to register a domain under Sunrise and use fake trademark information or unauthorized trademark information. If someone wants to complain they must pay $295 and, if they win, the domain gets but back into the pool of available domains. The exception to this would be the holder of a trademark who could get the domain transferred to them. Anyone could register domains under this and just turn over the domains that generated complaints.

One Intellectual Property representative recently pointed out that nothing illegal happens if domains are registered by a trademark holder when the domain actually should have been released to the general public: "none of this is a tort - there is no damage to an identifiable third party's property right." This contrasts the so-called "cybersqatter" situation where a member of the public would register a domain before a trademark holder got there.

Russ Smith
TheNic.com


     

 

Link: Trademark 'Squatters' Pillaging .INFO


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