(6 July 2009) IP Justice submitted comments today in opposition to the proposals contained in the “IRT Report” a proposal from ICANN’s Intellectual Property Constituency to create new trademark rights to domain names that do not exist in law.
ICANN’s Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC) also filed comments with ICANN discussing the substantive problems with the proposal and also the procedural concerns, which led to the creation of a one-sided report.
These comments were filed as part of ICANN’s Public Comment Period to receive input from the public on its policy proposals for introducing new generic top-level domain names. Members of the public may comment by sending an email to email@example.com with their comments. Comments are posted here for further discussion.
- Comments from Chinese Legal Scholar Leslie, Guan Yuanyuan
- Comments from Electronic Frontiers Australia, David Cake
- Comments from ICT Consumers Association of Kenya, Alex Gakuru
- Comments from ICANN GNSO Chair Avri Doria
- Comments from UK Legal Scholar Dr. Konstantinos Komaitis
- Comments from Chinese Domain Name Users Alliance, Hong Xue
- Comments from ICANN At Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) drafted by Patrick Vande Walle
- Comments from ICANN Intellectual Property Constituency Member Victoria McEvedy
RE: IP Justice Opposes the IRT Report Proposals
IP Justice is a nonprofit public benefit organization based in San Francisco that promotes balanced intellectual property rights in Internet law and policy. Founded in 2002, IP Justice has an international board of directors and members in countries from all corners of the globe. IP Justice participates at ICANN via the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC).
IP Justice is opposed to all the major proposals contained within the IRT Report as being beyond the bounds of trademark law and beyond the scope of ICANN's technical mandate. We are concerned about the harmful impact on freedom of expression - particularly criticism and noncommercial speech by the proposed rules. IP Justice is further opposed to the biased composition of the IRT Team and the secretive manner in which it did its work. A true "bottom-up" policy development process would have included representatives of domain name registrants in the creation of the policy proposal.
Despite its hard work and long hours, which we all recognize and appreciate, the IRT Team failed its mandate to find a solution acceptable to all; and it failed in its own stated mission by attempting to create substantive rights for trademark claimants that do not exist in law.
Furthermore, the IRT Report proposes to shift the burden and the cost of protecting brands over to Internet users and away from the private companies who benefit from the privileges of trademark protection. The law does not do this.
ICANN should endeavor to provide a more balanced discussion as it takes the IRT Report on its summer world tour. In particular, ICANN must ensure other stakeholders' views can be heard (and not only the IP Constituency) by providing travel support to noncommercial users and others who have significant concerns with the proposals but no resources to participate.
ICANN is an inappropriate forum for creating these new substantive trademark rights, despite its appeal to brand owners as a one-stop- shop for obtaining global policies for only the cost of a few thousand dollars in lobbyists. This should not be the message ICANN sends the world about how policy is made at ICANN.
Robin Gross, IP Justice