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Comments on Final IRT Report

  • To: <irt-final-report@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Comments on Final IRT Report
  • From: "Schuddebeurs, Charlotte" <Charlotte.Schuddebeurs@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 1 Jul 2009 12:04:16 +0100

Dear Sirs,
Please find here below the views of Unilever on the IRT report which we
hope will be of assistance in reviewing the issue of trade mark
Although we support any measures to ensure that trade mark rights are
protected we sincerely wonder whether the proposal of an IP
clearinghouse is the best way forward. By this system the burden is
again put on trade mark holders who should not need to defend their
rights again as they already invested in these by registering their
trade marks (throughout the world). 
Considerable time and recourses will need to be invested to protect the
rights via this system and although the report states that the costs
should be reasonable to submit the trade mark rights into the IP
clearinghouse this will likely not be the case for trade mark owners
with many brands, like Unilever. In this regard we are not only thinking
about the application fee for submitting these rights but also in the
time that needs to be invested in collecting all the data and submitting
it. If the IP Clearinghouse is the way forward, we at least suggest that
any costs of abuse prevention will be born by the applicant who applies
for a new gTLD and should be included within the application fees for
the new gTLD's. We prefer however that the whole idea of an IP
Clearinghouse will be set aside and that the burden of proof will switch
from the IP holder to the applicant applying for a new gTLD. Why would
it be unreasonable to ask for the applicant to prove that he has
sufficient rights into a domain name? This will prevent any abuse. 
The report also states that the data of the IP Clearinghouse will be
evaluated each year. A period of only one year seems to be very short
and will again result in increasing costs. Therefore we suggest that
this period will be longer, for example 3 years.
The threshold for Globally Protected Marks (GPM) list as proposed in the
report seems to be very high and is not completely clear. We suggest
that further studies will be conducted into this, the same applies for
the requirement of having registrations in all five ICANN regions.
We also wonder what exactly is protected by the GPM. The report states
that marks on GPM could block identical domain names however will this
mean that an application for . UNILEVER will be blocked but .
UNILEVERCOMPANY or . UNNILEVER not? What is the use then of having your
mark on the GPM list?
As you can see we are not convinced that an IP Clearinghouse as now
proposed by the IRT team is the best way to protect our IP rights and
hope that other measures will be taken.
Best regards,
Charlotte Schuddebeurs
For Unilever
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