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Effect of Trademark Value on Domain Specific Pricing?

  • To: biz-tld-agreement@xxxxxxxxx, info-tld-agreement@xxxxxxxxx, org-tld-agreement@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Effect of Trademark Value on Domain Specific Pricing?
  • From: "webmaster" <webmaster@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2006 22:42:25 -0500

Here is another issue to consider. What factors would be fair game for the Registry to use in coming up with its domain-specific registration fee? For example, let's take the made-up word Zillow (TM). In 2002, what registration fee would the Registry have assigned to the domain Zillow.com? $1? $3? $5? $10? Probably something small because it was a nonsense word at the time, with no economic value. Now fast forward to 2006. Zillow has now been trademarked and branded by an entrepreneurial online business. It is now worth a whole lot (zillions?) of dollars. Would the Registry now increase the domain renewal fee to reflect the increased economic value of this domain? Would it now cost Zillow $5,000 or even $500,000 to renew because of the market value of the domain has grown? If so, would this be extracting value from Zillow's trademark? That does not sound good. If not, then how will the Registry estimate what the value of the domain hypothetically would have been worth – as if the business had not been created and not trademarked the term? To avoid possible infringement issues, the Registry would have to try to develop algorithms to avoid increasing fees for economic value created by site owners with trademarks. They would only be able to tax the economic value created by site owners who do not have trademarks. It might be very challenging for the Registry to keep track of how much value of which websites is protected by intellectual property law and how much is fair game for taxation through increased registration fees. Mistakes could have serious consequences. This is another reason why allowing domain-specific registration fees based on the (Current? Future? Hypothetical? Realized? Potential? Non-trademarked?) economic value of a domain could open up a whole can of worms.
Sincerely, Bob Connor

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