Bloomberg issued its Electronic Commerce & Law Report where they asked asked several dozen leading attorneys and online experts “for their views on the most important legal developments in online law during 2012 and on what policy areas they believed would be the most important to their practices in 2013 including our own Phil Corwin of the ICA,
Bloomberg got plenty of thoughts and predictions for what they call the Domain Name Explosion and what we call the new gTLD program, also on whois reform and ICANN:
Here are the response Bloomberg got in Twitter fashion as they asked:
2013 will be the year of New gTLDs and the beginning of a dramatic and long overdue expansion of the domain name space! Kathryn Kleiman, @KleimK, Internet Counsel, Fletcher Heald & Hildreth, Arlington, Va.
2013 may see the domain name floodgates open if ICANN finally moves ahead with its new gTLD program. Conventional wisdom is that this will lead to massive cybersquatting in the new domains, and I agree. But the real story will be the beginning of the end of the domain name system, as domain confusion sends more and more consumers into search. David Bernstein, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York, N.Y.
New gTLDs will start appearing at the rate of 20 per week from mid 2013. The strategy of defensive registrations in all TLDs will be prohibitively expensive, an unrealistic option for nearly all brands. Brand owners need to determine their registration strategy – from both a brand protection and brand promotion perspective—in early 2013 to be ready for the rush. Martin Burke, @melbourneitdbs, EVP, Melbourne IT DBS, London.
The first new TLD will be an IDN—non-ASCII characters—and will enter the root system 2 weeks after ICANN meets in April in Beijing. Paul Stahura, @stahura, CEO, Donuts Inc., Bellevue, Wash.
New gTLDs will either change the nature of the internet or will go the way of all other gTLDs introduced after .com (when was the last time you bought or went to a .biz domain name?). Or maybe a little of both depending on the gTLD. Either way, they are going to exponentially increase the cost of monitoring and enforcement for IP owners. Marc H. Trachtenberg, @winstonadvlaw, Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP, Chicago.
Expect around 1,200 new gTLDs to be approved for the internet in the next couple of years. Some could even launch in 2013! Let’s hope this bold expansion of the internet doesn’t take trademark holders back to the dark old days of the Wild Wild Web. But look on the bright side. New IP protection mechanisms developed for new gTLDs may end up improving trust and safety for TM holders on the Web. Stephane Van Gelder, @stephvg, Chairman and Managing Director, Stephane Van Gelder Consulting Ltd., United Kingdom/France.
Defensive registrations in the second level will be “all the rage” in late 2013 and 2014 as new gTLD registries go online. Savvy brand owners will resist the urge to stock up on second level domain names that they don’t need and that fail to drive meaningful customer traffic. Paul D. McGrady, Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP, Chicago.
New gTLDs will force TM owners to adapt strategies for online TM protection. Volumes of C&D’s and defensive reg’s is not a viable strategy. David E. Weslow, @davidweslow, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP, Washington, D.C.
Claims by TM owners against domain registry operators are likely to increase due to registry business models and ancillary service offerings. David E. Weslow, @davidweslow, Partner, Wiley Rein LLP, Washington, D.C.
The outcome of the debate around second level protections for trademark owners in new gTLDs will be a key development in 2013. While the IPC-BC proposal is unlikely to gain broad support, already there are signs in the ICANN “strawman” proposal that a stronger result for trademark owners is in the offing. Martin Burke, @melbourneitdbs, EVP, Melbourne IT DBS, London.
gTLDs will be a catalyst for disruptive innovation, requiring more critical analysis by IP departments in protecting digital assets via design patents and copyright. Jen Wolfe, @JenWolfe, President, Wolfe Domain, Cincinnati.
Trademark lawyers must integrate with marketing to combine offensive and defensive strategy in brand protection in an expanding internet environment. Trademark lawyers have opportunity to create economies of scale by thinking innovatively about brand protection in an expanding internet environment. Jen Wolfe, @JenWolfe, President, Wolfe Domain, Cincinnati.
Trademark interests will not be satisfied by the ultimate resolution of the “Strawman” debate and will pivot in the first quarter of 2013 to demands related to ICANN’s enforcement of Applicant Guidebook qualifications and new gTLD registry agreement requirements. Philip Corwin, @vlawdc, Founding Principal, Virtualaw LLC, Washington, D.C.
Regardless of what happens with the expansion of top-level domains in 2013, all trademark owners should be prepared to take additional steps to protect their brands online from cybersquatters and other bad actors. Doug Isenberg, @dougisenberg, Founder, The GigaLaw Firm, Atlanta.
The first new generic top level domains will begin to rollout in 2013. Brand owners should expect a substantial increase in cybersquatting despite the rights protection mechanisms that have been adopted by ICANN. James L. Bikoff, Partner, Silverberg, Goldman & Bikoff, LLP, Washington, D.C.
Despite the introduction of ICANN’s Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS), the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Policy (UDRP) will remain one of the most important and successful legal tools for trademark owners online. Doug Isenberg, @dougisenberg, Founder, The GigaLaw Firm, Atlanta.
For ICANN’s new gTLDs, 2012 took us through a dramatic serious of events: 1,900+ applications and an Intellectual Property community nervous about the Trademark Clearinghouse, URS, sunrise and what post-delegation will look like. In 2013, it will not only be about establishing strategies to manage and mitigate potential abuses, but also educating the general public because in a survey of 2,000 Internet users only about 25 percent know the new gTLDs even exist. Jamila Hunte, @jamilaenta, Account Manager, BrandProtect, Ontario, Canada.
Ultimately it’s all about “trust.” Whether users will gravitate to new domain names, social media platforms or rely on search engines, the most important factor is one of “trust.” Ellen Shankman, Principal, Advocate, Notary, Ellen B. Shankman & Associates, Rehovot, Israel.
Everyone I know said that opening up the internet so anyone can own a “.com” or “.whatever” was a terrible idea. But what is the alternative? If ICANN simply keeps the internet root zone “as is” does that keep would-be participants out? A multistakeholder internet is critical to global progress and giving everyone the opportunity to have an actual “stake” is definitely one way to foster this goal. David Mitnick, @domainskate, Founder and President, Domain Skate LLC, New York, N.Y.
Consumer benefits of new gTLDs? Wait until you see. They will far exceed the costs, including the costs of getting to this point. Paul Stahura, @stahura, CEO, Donuts Inc., Bellevue, Wash.
The new Top-Level Domain program, and the myriad of new laws that underpin it, including IP, trademark and privacy legislation, will see a paradigm shift in how the internet is consumed across the globe. Adrian Kinderis, @AdrianKinderis, Chief Executive Officer, ARI Registry Services, Melbourne & Los Angeles.
The Internet is what it is because most governments haven’t meddled with it. We need to keep it that way. Paul Stahura, @stahura, CEO, Donuts Inc., Bellevue, Wash.It is ultimately the users that define what the internet is and what it will become. Lynn St. Amour, @LynnStAmour, President/CEO, Internet Society, Geneva, Switzerland/Reston, Va.
Year in, year out, the WHOIS debate rages on. The antiquated domain owner ID card system is decried by all. Some (law enforcement for example) get riled by WHOIS databases that have incomplete or false data. Others (businesses and individuals who own domains) worry about data privacy issues. All hate it that there’s no unique WHOIS, with each TLD having its own specific format. The good news? ICANN really wants to fix WHOIS in 2013. Stephane Van Gelder, @stephvg, Chairman and Managing Director, Stephane Van Gelder Consulting Ltd., United Kingdom/France.
No birthday party when Affirmation of Commitments (USG-ICANN) turned 3. Before it turns 4, should Congress ask whether ICANN’s living up to it? Steve Metalitz, @mskllp, Partner, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Washington, D.C.
Whois policy: hardy perennial in ICANN garden. Now ICANN Board wants to tear up, start over with “expert” gardeners. Will this produce more fruit and fewer weeds? Steve Metalitz, @mskllp, Partner, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Washington, D.C.
Déjà vu—WHOIS, privacy and rights protection mechanisms—has there been progress since 1996? Sometimes, it doesn’t seem that way. David Maher, Senior Vice President — Law & Policy, Public Interest Registry, Reston, Va.
The “hands on” management style of ICANN’s new CEO will hasten a full-scale debate on whether ICANN’s multi-stakeholder policy process should be clarified and preserved, or substantially reformed. Philip Corwin, @vlawdc, Founding Principal, Virtualaw LLC, Washington, D.C.
The Department of Commerce’s decision to freeze .com wholesale pricing was a long-overdue correction of a six-year old mistake. Now VeriSign has a vested yet somewhat conflicted interest in hoping that new gTLDs provide enough of a marketplace challenge to .com to justify a request to ease pricing restrictions by the time the current registry contract expires in 2018. Philip Corwin, @vlawdc, Founding Principal, Virtualaw LLC, Washington, D.C.
The Bloomberg report is pretty interesting and you can read the whole report VLaw-2013 (pdf)