Phil Corwin Posts Update To His .XYZ/Netsol Post on ICA Site & His “Mistake in Judgement”

Phil Corwin has just published an update to this post he published the other day on the ICA website entitled ICANN is MIA on XYZ.

As we told you on Sunday, some including thedomains.com felt that the portion of Mr. Corwin’s post that seemed to be a personal attack on Mr. Negari was inappropriate and out of line.

Mr. Corwin has now addressed this, with a statement posted on the ICA Website in which he  apologize to Mr. Negari entitled “Personal Clarification Regarding .XYZ Article”

Here is the new post:

Several days ago I posted an article – “ICANN is Missing in Action on .XYZ” – expressing my personal views regarding Network Solutions’ involuntary opt-out registration of .XYZ domains for its existing customers. It was posted, as many of my opinion pieces are, at both the website of the Internet Commerce Association, which I have served as Counsel since its founding in 2006, and at CircleID.com; the two websites attract different audiences.  The article was not requested by the ICA and does not represent any official policy of the ICA in regard to such involuntary domain registrations. The ICA has not yet adopted any position on this practice.

The article questioned whether this opt-out practice violated registrant rights and was in compliance with the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) that all registrars enter into with ICANN. A particular concern was that, unless ICANN stepped in, this practice could spread to other new gTLDs, adversely affecting registrants while undermining the integrity of the new gTLD program and raising additional questions about ICANN’s contractual compliance enforcement.

Toward the end of the article I referred to a 2011 Lanham Act litigation filed by Facebook against the CEO of the .XYZ registry, Daniel Negari, and another company he headed, Cyber2media. I noted that the case had been dismissed, and stated “Of course allegations are not proof of guilt”. I also tried to give even-handed treatment earlier in the article on the question of whether .XYZ had entered into any arrangement with Network Solutions in regard to the opt-out program by reprinting the relevant text of an interview he had engaged in on that question.

I now regard my referencing of the Lanham Act litigation as a mistake in judgment.

First, it was extraneous to the main focus of the article and has generated some unintended controversy that has diluted focus on the important policy question of whether opt-out domain registrations are an ethical practice consistent with RAA provisions that protect registrants and, if not, what ICANN should be doing in reaction.

More importantly, it appears to have created the misimpression that I believe that the award of the .XYZ registry contract to Mr. Negari and his registry enterprise was questionable. I am not aware of any facts that would lead me to such a conclusion and to the extent that my unartful words may have created such an incorrect impression I offer my sincere apology to him, his colleagues and his enterprise.

That section of the article also stated that it “would be useful to know” whether the application for .XYZ had disclosed the litigation. I have since learned through a third party that it was disclosed and considered by ICANN. Such information is redacted and not made part of the publicly available portion of any gTLD application.

There also seems to be a misperception that I may have been advocating amendment of the gTLD program Applicant Guidebook to create review of dismissed or settled trademark legal actions. In fact such a provision is already part of the program’s Evaluation Questions Criteria (see http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/agb/evaluation-questions-criteria-04jun12-en.pdf).

At Section 11(g) of the Applicant Background portion of that document this Question appears:

(g) Disclose whether the applicant or any of the individuals named above has been involved in any administrative or other legal proceeding in which allegations of intellectual property infringement relating to registration or use of a domain name have been made. Provide an explanation related to each such instance. (Emphasis added)

This Note appears next to that Question:

ICANN may deny an otherwise qualified application based on the background screening process. See section 1.2.1 of the guidebook for details.

That provision is the very reason why a dismissed Lanham Act lawsuit would need to be disclosed by a gTLD applicant. It is in addition to preceding Section 11(f), the inflexible “three strikes” UDRP/ACPA disqualification clause against which I lobbied at considerable length; while that effort was unsuccessful, a similar disqualifier was added for those cited for repeated Reverse Domain Name Hijacking. ICANN has stated that it intends to conduct a thorough review of all provisions of the Applicant Guidebook prior to any second round of new gTLDs, and that will provide an opportunity to revisit all these provisions.

I hope that this clarification facilitates a return to consideration of the opt-out registration issue and an appropriate ICANN response. I wish Mr. Negari and his marketing team well in their efforts to promote affirmative domain registrations in the .XYZ registry.”””

 

The Removed ICA Post on XYZ: My Thoughts, What Mr. Corwin Has To Say, & The Missing Emails

Ron Jackson wrote two stories at DnJournal.com, over the weekend covering a post written by Phil Corwin, that post was published on Circle ID and on the ICA website on Friday entitled ICANN is MIA on .XYZ, and its subsequent removal on Saturday from the ICA website.

I highly suggest if you haven’t done so you should read Mr. Corwin’s post on CircleID.com (along with the comments) and Ron’s summary of the post he wrote on Friday and the story he wrote yesterday on the removal of the post from the ICA website.

I’m not going to rehash what Ron wrote, As not surprisingly he laid out the issues very well.

The issues of the moment, as you can read in Ron’s post,  include whether or not the post should have been published on the ICA website, whether the post should have been removed in the way it was removed, whether Mr. Corwin had any ulterior motives to write the post and whether the ICA is going to comply with demands made by Mr. Negari which appear below.

I have some additional information including some quotes from Phil Corwin and some thoughts on the post and the ICA’s action removing the post.

First I need to say for those that don’t know that I’m a long time member of the ICA at the Silver level. I’m not a member of the ICA board.

The ICA like any other organization takes input from its members and the Board makes decisions. I can say that none of the information I’m going to share with you came to me as a member of the ICA as of the time of this publication. I haven’t received anything from the ICA about this issue as a member at all.

As you can see from the comments on CircleID.com, some in the community objected to a portion of Mr. Corwin’s post, which chatted about a  case that the principal of .XYZ, Mr. Negari was named in a few years ago. Mr Negari and his company were dismissed from that case. Mr. Berryhill was among the commenters who felt that any other details outside the XYZ/Netsol issue were nothing more but a personal attack.  Those comments also raised the question if Mr. Corwin had other motives for writing the post outside of the XYZ/Netsol issue.

Here is how Ron Jackson described the issue:

The passage in question was not about the Network Solutions issue with .XYZ registrations, but Corwin’s question whether or not ICANN was doing thorough enough background checks on new gTLD registries and their top executives. In that passage he noted that Daniel Negari, the CEO of the .XYZ, along with his company Cyber2media, had been defendants in a lawsuit filed by Facebook in 2011 – a lawsuit that was later dismissed. In the comment section, John Berryhill, one of the world’s top domain attorneys, took issue with Corwin citing a dismissed action as cause for suspicion, calling it a “personal smear.”

To illustrate his point, Berryhill took it a step further, noting that Corwin’s firm, Greenberg & Lieberman, is defending a client who is being sued for breach of contract by a company associated with Negari (a case involving non-payment for the domain MD.org which had been sold for over $555,000) and that “This personal smear likely has more to do with Mr. Corwin’s deadbeat client, than internet policy.” 

Regarding the post itself, I personally didn’t have any issue with the portion of the post where Mr. Corwin chats about .XYZ/Netsol issue and calls on ICANN to take a look to see if it conforms with their rules and regulations, but in my opinion Mr. Corwin’s post  should have stuck to that issue of Netsol stuffing free .XYZ domains into some of its customers accounts without the customers confirmation.

I do believe the portion of the post that is being called by some a personal attack on Mr. Negari, were very inappropriate.

Now for the rest of the story

Mr. Negari in an email sent Saturday morning asked the Directors of the ICA whether the views expressed in Mr. Corwin’s article posted on the ICA’s Website reflected the position of the ICA, the Board and its members.

DN Journal reports Nat Cohen, one of the three Board members of the ICA “decided to take the copy of the letter on the ICA site down today until the board could meet as a whole and “review the article in more detail before we adopt it as an official ICA position”.

However the email he sent to Mr. Negari on Saturday when he took down the post from the ICA Website, was quite different from how he described it to DnJournal.com,

Here is the email sent by Nat on behalf of the ICA to Mr. Negari:

“Phil wears many hats. The ICA is one of a number of his clients.

Phil wrote the Circle ID article on his own initiative, as an expression of his personal views, and without consultation with the ICA board. I was not aware, and I don’t believe any of the other ICA board members were aware, of the content of the article until after it was published.

The article was not published at the direction of the ICA board. The article does not convey the views of the ICA.

Phil’s byline on the Circle ID article states that the views in the article are his personal views, and does not indicate any affiliation with the ICA.

Phil has the ability to post articles directly to the ICA’s website. He published the article on the ICA website without prior review from anyone at the ICA. I had not read the article in full until John Berryhill wrote last evening expressing objections to the article.

The article has now been removed from the ICA website.”

I think we can agree that the actual letter sent to Daniel on behalf of the ICA reads to be a final determination of the ICA and not in accordance with how the ICA’s position was described in the DN Journal story.

That’s a problem for me as a member of the ICA.

Nat as one member of the Board in my opinion doesn’t have the authority to take actions unilaterally on behalf of the organization, including taking down the post and sending out a letter which purports to represent the position of the entire organization with what appears to be a final decision.

As a member I have a problem with that.

Mr. Corwin also sent a copy of the post, including a link to the post, not the one published on CircleId, but the post published on the ICA’s website, to all members of the ICANN Business Constituency.

The email was sent from Mr. Corwin’s own address not from an ICA email, and besides repeating the post and linking to the article to the one that appeared on the ICA’s website only added the following

“FYI. I think BC members will find this very interesting – and somewhat disturbing….””

I think the letter should have linked back to the CircleId post, not the post as it appeared on the ICA website.

I reached out to Mr. Corwin, for some comments on the post and the surrounding issues.

Mr. Corwin had this to say:

“What I blog about on the ICA website is my personal view, it is not the official positions of the members of the ICA or the board of the ICA, unless it clearly says so in the post. “I have never in the past received any negative feedback on a post I have written on the ICA website from an ICA board member or any other member. Ron Jackson over at Dnjournal.com posted a very complimentary post yesterday, on my post that also appeared on CircleID and agreed that ICANN needs to look at this NSI opt out registration issue which is the subject of the post”

Phil, I have a copy of a letter that was sent to at the very least, all the members of the BC, this was sent from your personal business email address that had the link to the post from ICA site not Circle ID. Is that something you typically do, send an email out to the BC about a post you make on the ICA website?

“When I write a post that I think will be of interest to the members of the BC I send it as an e-mail as a matter of course. I also forward other articles that I think will be of interest. I have long been ICA’s representative on the BC. The issue I wished to bring to their attention were the thousands of involuntary domain registrations and the lack of any visible ICANN response”

“”The ICA has long had the mission to protected the rights of registrants and the principal issues discussed in the post, protecting registrants and upholding the RAA are very relevant issues for the ICA. That’s why I thought it was suitable for a blog post. “

Phil how do you respond to what some are speculating, and commenting in the Circle ID post, that your post was motivated by clients the firm of Greenberg & Lieberman a law firm in which your “Of Counsel”, which are representing clients who are defendants in a litigation with Mr. Negari in a different matter?

“That is outrageous and false”

“I’m Of Counsel and have no management role in the firm, I don’t know all of the clients or activities of Greenberg & Lieberman and have no reason to.

I had no idea they were representing anyone in any litigation with Mr. Negari

I had no prior knowledge of the lawsuit, the article does not mention or discuss that lawsuit, and I would never use the ICA website to post material for the purpose of influencing extraneous litigation.

I write about issues that I believe are of interest to ICA members and domain investors”

Do you have any plans to remove or edit the post on circle ID?

“The CircleID post has already received 1500 views and Mr. Berryhill and others have posted comments, some of which are highly critical, so I don’t think that is a practical option at this point in time. I have just posted a brief response to some of the comments. Again, my main focus was on Network Solutions’ involuntary opt-out domain registrations and whether that was in violation of the RAA and required ICANN intervention, and I hope any further discussion can return to that issue.”

Well honestly so do I.

But at the moment there is an outstanding demand letter that Mr. Negari sent to the ICA after receiving the email from Nat acknowledging the removal of the post:

At this point their has been substantial damage done to ICA’s reputation, as well as mine personally. I am expecting ICA to issue a statement covering the following, Phil acted on his own and not on behalf of ICA

Post that statement on ICA’s website, Circle ID, ICANN business constituency newsletters, board newsletters, essentially with the same promotion it had originally to try and restore the reputation of ICA and myself.

Again I appreciate your transparency and swift reply, I don’t read the blogs every day; however this one was way out of line and crossed many boundaries. “””””

So I’m not sure where all of this is going.

Much of this was very quite unnecessary and is going to be a distraction from the NetSol issue.

Obviously the Board of the ICA is going to have to meet and discuss what happened here and figure out  if they are going to meet any or all of Mr. Negari demands.

The Internet Commerce Association’s Website Gets A Big Makeover

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 3.04.56 PM

 

The Internet Commerce Association’s (ICA) Website has undergone a massive redesign.

The ICA has a new, sharp-looking website at InternetCommerce.org.

The ICA wants to thank Michael Castello for leading the initiative to update the ICA site and for providing the mock-up, and Michael Sumner for creating the new site.

The site just relaunched and now contains information on members, news and issues of importance to domain holders, mission statements along with all of the ICA’s blog post.

Founded in 2006, the Internet Commerce Association (ICA) is a non-profit trade organization representing domain name investors, website developers and related companies

The ICA will continue to  fine tune the site and add features.

There is also going to be another ICA board position added.

Any new members (below Platinum level) that join before the vote is taken will have the opportunity to vote on selecting the new Board Member.

Please go and check out the new site and contribute to the ICA.

Special Rights for IGOs and INGOs Could Lead To Registrant Rights Disappearing When it Comes to UDRP

A slight change of one word could open the door for domain registrant rights to evaporate over time. Currently ICANN is looking at a Preliminary Issue Report on Access by IGOs (Inter Governmental Organization )and INGOs  (Inter Non Governmental Organization) to the Curative Rights Protections of the UDRP and URS. You can read all the comments here.

The Intellectual Property Constituency (“IPC”) of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (“GNSO”) would like to see the language changed when it comes to UDRP and URS disputes which involve an IGO or INGO.

They would like to see the  substitution of the word “or”instead of “and” in a “bad faith registration or use” element.

Two of the great champions of registrant rights, Nat Cohen and George Kirikos left excellent comments on why this should not be allowed.

Nat Cohen touched upon the common sense fact that there are many companies and organizations who have the same rights to a domain name using their acronym.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

I reiterate my statement that IGOs/INGOs are not entitled to any special
protections for their acronyms, as they have no greater claim to an acronym
than any of the hundreds or thousands of other legitimate users of those
acronyms.  This is an illegitimate attempt to create a special protected
class where none exists already and without any authority to do so.

The proposal to reserve commonly used acronyms for IGOs and INGOs in
established TLDs is a tremendous overreach by International Organizations.
In essence, the organizations are claiming all the IP rights to short
acronyms that are in widespread commercial use by a entities around the
globe.  These international organizations have no greater claim to these
acronyms than any other legitimate user.

International organizations have available for their use .int and .org
extensions that are associated with International Organizations and
non-profit organizations.  There is no need to seize turf on what is
traditionally the commercial internet of .com and .net by claiming
exclusive rights to acronym domains under these extensions.

Many of the organizations in the list of acronyms under consideration for
special protections are obscure and their acronyms are not well known to
the public.    There is no basis or justification to privilege the
interests of the Int’l Organizations over other users of these acronyms.
This is a strikingly misguided initiative that takes a well grounded
interest in avoiding confusing misuse of the names the world famous
organizations, the Red Cross and the Olympics, to launch a groundless
seizure of all domains associated with the acronyms for hundreds of
international organizations.

There is a very good reason why historically the protections afforded to
the Red Cross and the Olympics are restricted to these particular
organizations that are well known to hundreds of millions of people
worldwide.  The rationale for the special protections for these two
organizations does not extend to every obscure international organization
ever created, and certainly not to acronyms that these organizations share
with hundreds or thousands of other entities.

By way of example let us take a look at some of the acronyms used in the
text of the Overview of the Report and the use made of the dot-com domain
based on those acronyms-

igo.com – maker of accessory chargers for travelers
ingo.com – an arts and cultural organization
pdp.com -  producer of gaming accessories
ioc.com – media storage company

This small example demonstrates that acronyms have many concurrent
legitimate uses.  IGOs can adequately protect their intellectual property
and reputations without adopting a policy that prevents the long-standing
and legitimate use of acronym domains by commercial users.

http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-igo-ingo-final-20sep13/msg00005.html

I write in favor of George Kirikos’ comment at
http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-igo-ingo-crp-prelim-10mar14/msg00009.html

I further support the ICA’s comment at:

http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-igo-ingo-crp-prelim-10mar14/msg00006.html

Respectfully submitted,

Nat Cohen
President
Telepathy, Inc.

George Kirikos touched upon how this could be used as a trojan horse down the road for other entities that are not IGO or INGO. I bolded this in the comment.

Submitted by: George Kirikos
Company: Leap of Faith Financial Services Inc.
Website: http://www.leap.com/

First, I’d like to note that the “reply comment” submitted by the Intellectual
Property Constituency was late, i.e.  Tue, 6 May 2014 20:11:48 -0400 is
equivalent to Wednesday May 7, 2014 00:11:48 UTC, which is 11 minutes and 48
seconds past the deadline.

Their comments should *not* be considered (if their comment is considered by
ICANN, so should other “late” comments, including this one). In particular, the
IPC’s longstanding desire to change the UDRP and URS from one designed for the
“clear cut cases of abuse” by changing the “and” requirement to a lesser “or”
standard is obviously unacceptable, and against the public interest. The cases
of “or” are best left to the national court system, where full due process
exists (including cross-examination, discovery, etc.), not the UDRP/URS where
very limited evidence is presented under extreme time constraints.

It’s inconsistent for the IPC to simultaneously argue for a “narrow” focus of
any PDP (no PDP at all should take place, as we’ve argued in prior comments),
but then try to broaden that focus by reopening the “and” vs “or” debate.
Clearly they have an ulterior motive at work, namely trying to reopening the
“and” vs “or” requirement for non-IGO/INGO complainants, using the cases of
IGOs/INGOs as a “foot in the door” if that policy was developed in a haphazard
process focused on “speed” rather than a process focused on careful and
thoughtful consideration.

Sincerely,

George Kirikos

It is easy to see where this headed, set a precedent on the and vs or with just the IGO and INGO in mind, and then slowly let it filter out into the mainstream where big companies are using it against domain investors etc…

You can read the full IPC comment here

The ICA Comments on ICANN Preliminary Issue Report on IGOs and INGOs

Phil Corwin of the ICA has sent a comment to ICANN regarding the Preliminary Issue Report on Access by IGOs and INGOs to the Curative Rights Protections of the UDRP and URS.

In that report, the staff recommended the GNSO Council initiate a PDP (Policy Development Process) to see if they should modify the UDRP and URS process so that IGOs and INGOs could access these as to basically go after their acronyms at the sld level. This could subject legitimate domain owners to having to engage in a legal battle to keep a domain that is an acronym for an Intergovernmental Organization.

The ICA wrote back in December,

Yesterday ICA filed a letter that generally supported the GNSO Council’s recent and unanimously adopted Resolution on Protections for International Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations (IGOs & INGOs). In particular, while supporting strong protections for exact matches of their full names at the top and second level of the DNS, we were pleased that the Resolution did not grant undue protections to acronyms of their names, and did not put existing acronyms at incumbent gTLDs at unreasonable risk.

But it turns out that ICA was the only organization to file a supportive comment in the initial comment round (the reply period is now open until January 8th) – and that the UN has coordinated a flood of letters (found at http://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-igo-ingo-recommendations-27nov13/), all protesting that the Resolution does not go far enough to protect those acronyms. Besides the UN, such organizations as NATO, WIPO (which is a UN agency), and Interpol say it doesn’t do enough to prevent potential misuse of those acronyms, especially at new gTLDs.

ICA last weighed in on this issue in mid-October (see http://internetcommerce.org/IGO%2526INGO) when we noted that some proposals would go so far as barring the registration of common acronyms such as idea, eco, imo, iso, and au, as well as adversely affecting their existing counterparts at incumbent gTLDs. We proposed a more reasonable approach that is in many ways reflected in the GNSO-adopted resolution.

But that doesn’t begin to go far enough for the UN and the IGOs and INGOs it has rallied to its cause. Indeed, their position takes a harder line than ICANN’s own Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC). The GAC’s Buenos Aires Communique (https://gacweb.icann.org/download/attachments/27132037/FINAL_Buenos_Aires_GAC_Communique_20131120.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1385055905332&api=v2) addressed this issue by requesting a dialogue with the New gTLD program Committee (NGPC) on a final modality for permanent protection of IGO acronyms at the second level, through a notification system that would allow for timely intervention to prevent misuse and confusion through a no or nominal cost system that provided for a final binding determination by a third party. That’s fairly consistent with ICA’s position, as we have no objection to allowing IGOs and INGOs to make use of the UDRP and URS, although we have reservations about placing their exact names in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) database until changes are made in the Trademark Claims Notice generated by attempts to register matches – and we don’t support placing their acronyms in the TMCH.

Regardless of the legal or technical merits, the mass of comment filings against the GNSO Resolution has just converted this into yet another politically charged hot potato that needs to be resolved by the ICANN Board. Will the GAC now take on a tougher stance under pressure from these IGOs and INGOs? And, in an approaching year when the debate between the choice of a multistakeholder versus a multilateral model of Internet governance will take center stage at the spring Sao Paulo meeting and the fall ITU session, how will the ICANN Board balance considerations of defending the unanimous multistakeholder position of the GNSO Council versus the need to garner multilateral support for ICANN itself?

In their letter to ICANN back in October, the ICA was clear to point out that many of these acronyms are valuable domains, that the registrants have legitimate rights to the names and that there is no infringing or confusion with any IGO or INGO mark.

Here is the December letter:

Re: Protection of IGO and INGO Identifiers in All gTLDs (PDP) Recommendations for Board Consideration

 Dear ICANN:

I am writing on behalf of the members of the Internet Commerce Association (ICA). ICA is a not-for-profit trade association representing the domain name industry, including domain registrants, domain marketplaces, and direct search providers. Its membership is composed of domain name registrants who invest in domain names (DNs) and develop the associated websites, as well as the companies that serve them. Professional domain name registrants are a major source of the fees that support registrars, registries, and ICANN itself. ICA members own and operate approximately ten percent of all existing Internet domains on behalf of their own domain portfolios as well as those of thousands of customers.

This letter addresses the “Protection of IGO and INGO Identifiers in All gTLDs (PDP) Recommendations for Board Consideration”   posted for public comment on November 27th[1]. We are specifically commenting upon the Resolution[2] unanimously adopted by the GNSO Council on November 20th when it approved the consensus recommendations of the IGO-INGO PDP Working Group. Following this comment period those recommendations will be considered by the ICANN Board.

Executive Summary

The ICA is generally supportive of the Resolution adopted by the GNSO Council – with the exception of certain recommendations relating to the inclusion of exact matches and acronyms in the Trademark Clearinghouse database.

We are also gratified that the recommendations do not adopt a hostile position toward acronyms of the encompassed organizations that are registered at the second level of existing gTLDs.

Discussion

The ICA filed comments[3] on October 11, 2013 in regard to the Draft Final Report on Protection of IGO and INGO Identifiers in All gTLDs.

The positions we took in that prior comment letter can be summarized follows:

  • In regard to the top level of new gTLDs, we generally favor full protection for exact matches of the full name of all the IGOs and INGOs addressed by the Report by barring their registration by third parties — but we oppose such blanket, registration-blocking  protection of exact matches of their acronyms.
  • In regard to the second level of new gTLDs, we generally favor full protection through registration blocking for exact matches of the full name of all IGOs and INGOs addressed by the Report  — but we oppose blanket protection of exact matches of their acronyms as any misuse could be addressed by existing second level dispute resolution arbitration procedures.
  • In regard to the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), which is only relevant to new gTLDs — we would support inclusion in the TMCH of exact matches of the full name of all the IGOs and INGOs addressed by the Report – but only if the Trademark Notice generated by an attempt to register such a name differentiates between trademark rights and the “rights” held in such name by an IGO or INGO that has not trademarked its name.
  • We oppose inclusion in the TMCH of the exact matches of acronyms of all the IGOs and INGOs addressed by the Report. We do not oppose allowing affected organizations to utilize the curative rights of the UDRP (at new or incumbent gTLDs) or URS (only available at new gTLDs at this time) dispute resolution arbitration mechanisms if they believe that a particular domain using such exact match has been registered and used in bad faith; that is, in such a manner as to deceive and mislead the public that the particular website is being operated by or has been endorsed by the relevant IGO or INGO.

    Finally, in regard to any incumbent gTLD, while we appreciate and support the Recommendation that any currently  registered domain matching a protected IGO or INGO identifier “shall be handled like any existing registered name within the incumbent gTLD regarding renewals, transfers, sale, change of registrant, etc.”, we strongly oppose the adoption of any policy that would:

  • Define or create a mechanism against the specious and completely speculative possibility of “front-running” of domain registrations of IGO or INGO identifiers.
  • Exclude such a domain from any add/drop activities by the registrar in the event it becomes eligible for deletion, or make such deleted domains ineligible for future re-registration.
  • In any way sanction the involuntary seizure or deletion of any identifier exact match acronym domain that is registered now or may be in the future at any incumbent gTLD.

    When we compare our previously stated positions with the recommendations that were unanimously adopted by the GNSO Council, we:

  • Support the recommendation for protection of the Red Cross/Red Crescent (RCRC) at the top and second level – with the exception of including full names and acronyms in the TMCH database.
  • Support the recommendations for protection of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the top and second level.
  • Support the recommendations for protection of International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) at the top and second level – with the exception of including their acronyms in the TMCH database.
  • Support the recommendations for protection of International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) at the top and second level – with the exception of including exact matches of their full names in the TMCH database.
  • We support the recommendation that, at the top level, acronyms of the RCRC, IOC, IGOs and INGOs shall not be considered as “Strings Ineligible for Delegation”; and at the second level, acronyms of the RCRC, IOC, IGOs and INGO under consideration in this PDP shall not be withheld from registration.
  • We do not oppose the recommendations applicable to existing gTLD registries that they shall accommodate similar protections at the second level for the exact match, full name of the RCRC, IOC, IGOs, and INGOs – and are gratified that these protections do not apply to acronyms.
  • We support the initiation of an Issue Report to consider the amendment of existing policies “so that curative rights of the UDRP and URS can be used by those organizations that are granted protections based on their identified designations” as a preceding step to a Policy Development Procedure (PDP) on this issue – so long as the Issue Report fully considers the perspective of the domain investment community.
  • We have no objection to the establishment of “an IGO-INGO Implementation Review Team (IRT) to assist ICANN staff in developing the implementation details relating to the recommendations adopted herein should they be approved by the ICANN Board” — but strongly urge that any such IRT should include qualified members or representatives of the domain investment community so that their expertise can contribute to fully informed consideration of reasonable and effective implementation steps.

    Further explaining our position in regard to the inclusion of full names and acronyms in the TMCH database, we can only support inclusion of full names of the encompassed organizations in its database if the currently flawed Trademark Claims Notice is amended to differentiate between trademark rights and the “rights” held in such name by an IGO or INGO that has not trademarked its name. We oppose the inclusion of non-trademarked acronyms as the TMCH is supposed to be a reliable database of high quality trademarks. The issue of making the UDRP and URS available for non-trademarked acronyms can be addressed in the Issue Report referenced above.

    Conclusion

    We hope that ICANN finds our views on this matter to be useful and informative. We look forward to contributing to the Issue Report, PDP, and IRT referenced above.

In addition to the ICA, George Kirikos left a comment expressing his oppostion to the latest report. You can read his comments along with those of a few others here

The link to the ICA pdf is located on their comment for your complete review.