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IP And The Internet: A Growing Need to Police Online Content

The Internet and corresponding online world have radically expanded the landscape Intellectual Property professionals need to investigate when monitoring for possible infringements of their trademarks, brands and other intangible assets. With few barriers to entry, coupled with the ability to operate anonymously, the Internet has rapidly become a significant target for unscrupulous individuals hoping to take advantage of the easily accessible Intellectual Property assets of legitimate businesses. more»

Montreal ICANN Meetings Creating Some Irritations

Two controversial issues which were on the agenda of the Montreal ICANN meetings creating some irritation: the way of planning to create a country code support organization (ccNSO), and the discussions around the purpose and operation of WHOIS – the database of registrants of domains.

Without going into the history of the ccTLDs withdrawing from their former role within the DNSO and moving towards a self organized structure, there is an obvious conflict revolving around the term “binding” that ICANN and the GAC want to see in defining the ccNSO. One European ccTLD manager put it bluntly: “We are not under the law of California!” more»

UDRP Dilemma In Proving Bad-Faith Domain Registrations - Part I

The purpose of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, known as the UDRP (hereafter the Policy), is to determine disputes relating to the registration or acquisition of domain names in bad faith. Under the Policy, the complainant must establish that (i) the disputed domain name is identical with or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the complainant has rights; (ii) the domain name registrant has no right or legitimate interest in respect of the domain name; and (iii) the domain name was registered and is being used in bad faith.

Whilst requirements (i) and (ii), at first glance, do not appear difficult to meet, it is not the same with requirement (iii). In fact, a serious problem arises for the complainant when a registrant has registered domain names in bulk, but has not used them i.e. they have not been resolved to any active website. more»

India: Changing Trends in Passing-Off

In India, whilst the Intellectual property owners continue to face the problems of counterfeiting and infringements of their brand names/trade marks, the emerging trend amongst misusers appears to be adopting famous/well known marks as a part of their trading style/corporate name. Obviously, the intention is to choose a name that is easy to recollect and gives the impression of being associated with a well-known company. More often than not, in order to claim honesty in adoption, the marks are adopted in relation to a different business as that of the IP holder. Also it is common among misusers to slightly twist the name or add a descriptive suffix/prefix to the well-known mark. more»

Background on .EU the Upcoming European Identity

Progress is being made towards launching a .eu top-level domain for European individuals, business and organisations.

On 22 May 2003, the European Commission announced its decision to designate the European Registry for Internet Domains (EURID) as the Registry for the new top-level domain (TLD) .eu. EURID is made up of three founder members – the registry operators for the country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) .be (Belgium), .it (Italy) and .se (Sweden). The Commission’s decision follows a call for expressions of interest published last September and an evaluation by independent experts of the seven applications received. more»

ICANN and the Developing World: Examining The Outreach Program

Shravanti Reddy’s recent piece draws attention to an important issue that has nagged at ICANN ever since the ill-fated at large elections, when participants from the developed world greatly outnumbered those from the developing world. This imbalance was somewhat mitigated by the regional delineation of candidates, but it nonetheless raised two important questions that have yet to be settled:

First, how can ICANN (and, more generally, Internet governance) be more inclusive of developing countries? And second (less often asked, but perhaps even more important): Why should developing countries care about ICANN -- i.e., why does the answer to the first question even matter? This article discusses some recent developments related to the first question; a later article will consider some specific reasons why ICANN matters to the developing world. more»

Unraveling the Myths of the Internet's Origins - Part I

There are several myths that dominate the public perception of the Internet. These myths make it hard to understand the needs and nature of the Internet and its future development. One of the most dominant myths equates the early U.S. packet switching network known as the ARPANET with the metasystem linking diverse networks that we call the Internet. One such example is demonstrated by the time line at the AT&T web site. They write... more»

Diverting Traffic On The Web: Trademarks And The First Amendment

What's at the heart of cybersquatting may also be at the heart of free speech on the Internet: the diversion of Internet users looking for plaintiff's web site to defendant's web site. Cybersquatters register domain names to accomplish this, while meta-infringers (as we will call them) use HTML code and search engine optimization techniques. Meta-infringers do this by creating keyword density by using competitor's trademarks and permutations thereof in their website in order to rank higher in the search engine results when someone searches on the competitor's trademarks. more»

Can ICANN Meet The Needs Of "Less Developed" Countries?

On World Telecommunications Day last Saturday, the question of the digital divide—the difference between the so-called "developed" and "less developed" countries in terms of the availability and use of new information and communications technologies, particularly regarding access and use of the Internet—was one of the main topics of debate. However, less is understood about the growing knowledge and participation divide between "developed" and "undeveloped" countries on decisions regarding the global structure of the Internet that is currently under the mandate of the Internet Corporation for the Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)... more»

Domain Name Issues In Russia

How are domain names dealt with in Russia? This article discusses current issues related to the registration and assignment of domain names in ".ru" zone (Russian top level country code domain) and trademark protection on Internet. more»

Rolling Out The New .Pro Domain

Professionals can extend their online identities and direct traffic using .pro - the last of seven new top-level domain names approved by the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Individuals and entities in the accounting, legal and medical professions became eligible to apply to defensively register as of April 23, 2003. In July, .pro domain names will go live. more»

If It Walks Like A Duck And Quacks Like A Duck It's Probably A…?

It is time to revisit the old question regarding whether or not a domain name is actually 'property' and what this means to domain name registrants, registrations, ISPs and ICANN itself. What type of rights does a domain name confer? What responsibilities will the act of registering domain names suddenly bestow? more»

Internet Governance: There Are No Masterplans

Please pardon me if I start this story by telling about an incident that happened to me at the Madrid airport while flying to the ICANN meetings in Rio.

It was about midnight when, after flying in from Turin, my hometown, I had to go through the passport control to reach my gate for the flight to Rio. The war between the US/UK and Iraq had started two days before, and even if the Spanish government was among its supporters, security checks were apparently proceeding as usual. Passport controls inside the EU for EU citizens usually take a few seconds, and the line ahead of me was proceeding quickly. more»

Brownian Motion And ICANN's Latest Status Report To The United States

Brownian motion is the ceaseless random movement of particles suspended in a warm fluid. The particles move because they are buffeted by random collisions with molecules and atoms speeding this way and that under the impetus of heat. The greater the heat, the greater the motion. But no matter how much motion and how much heat, Brownian motion brings no progress.

Today I learned from Bret Fausett's ICANN Blog that ICANN has just published its Sixth Status Report Under ICANN/US Government Memorandum of Understanding, dated March 31, 2003. This report is subtitled "Report by ICANN to United States Department of Commerce Re: Progress Toward Objectives of Memorandum of Understanding" (emphasis added.) more»

With No Privacy Standards Who Knows Who Is Abusing The Whois Database

John Banks is a loan officer in New York. John's supervisor recently warned John about the potential number of bad loans he may be carrying as part of his portfolio. To dump some of the bad loans he might be carrying, John came up with a scheme. He pointed his web browser to www.whois.org and entered terms denoting disease or poor health such as 'cancer' and 'illness'. This query on the Internet's WHOIS database reported results of names and addresses of domain name owners who had developed websites devoted to providing information on certain serious illnesses. John compared these names and addresses with those in his portfolio of loans. For the matches, he canceled the loans and required immediate payment-in-full. more»

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