This article is a feedback on the sensitive .WINE dotVinum project which aims to create an extension for the wine community on Internet.
Questions to Be Answered
• Protection of rights at an international level: how to protect trademarks?
• Funding: who has the financial capacity to invest in such a project?
• Awareness of the targeted community: how to explain in simple words the impact of such a project?
• Lusts: Nationalities of wine are many, but only one organization in the world will be allowed to launch .WINE, which country will lead the wine community online?
• Issues of eligibility for .wine domain names, how to provide an easier access for people from the community ?
• Necessary documents to support the project: which arguments to get people to support the .Wine project:
1. Offer of a seat on the .WINE Board of Directors for its governance?
2. Suggest an active participation in the writing of the rules and interest accordingly?
3. Set up an online petition such as many projects already do?
4. Launch a Sunrise period for supporters to the project?
A Complex Task
Launching an Internet extension is a complex task, especially when addressing to a community whose domain names will be shared by candidates who sometimes share the same name, do not forget a name ... domain is unique.
Because the .WINE extension is dedicated to a specific area, it favors it exclusively. Unfortunately the domain names that will be created already exist in other domain name extensions. For example, if chateau.fr already exists, chateau.wine will most likely be created as well.
Brands and generics terms are issues for which solutions will have to be found. If the mechanism for trademark protection will be relatively simple to implement, that of assigning a generic term is more delicate.
An Example Among Others
The domain bottle.com, for example, is owned by an inventor who must derive great benefit from this generic term to promote his bottles on his web site. Bottle.wine could pose a risk to the visibility of his activity if it was created. And yet, in the context of a community project, this inventor is not related to the activity of wine, so It is unlikely he could become the owner of bottle.wine, while it may be a domain name that he wishes to acquire. Such a generic domain name would certainly generate more online presence.
Problem on the horizon; he may not be the only one interested in this domain name.
Protection of Prior Rights
Unlike a brand that can be owned by several persons, the domain name is unique and has only one owner ... worldwide.
In this context, any holder of a prior right may apply at a preferred phase called the "Sunrise" period. This is a common practice and quite well controlled now.
.WINE Domain Name Are Worth It
It is important to be the holder of your trademark as a domain name in your activity. It allows three essential things:
Why would you register www.my-vignoble.sea if you are winemaker in Bordeaux? However, www.my-vignoble.wine may be of interest if you want to export yourself using the Internet.
Geographical Indications: The Nightmare
While it is easy to protect a trademark, it is more difficult to protect a geographical indication. The wine is a bit unusual in that because there is little information in order to define clearly these indications, the famous "GI".
Under the project dotVinum, the .WINE domain names are exclusively for people of the wine industry and not to anyone interested in acquiring a domain name ending in .WINE. This means that the eligibility requirements must protect the institutions of wine brands, wine people, to summarize: the world of wine.
An example I like to give is: who can claim bordeaux.wine?
It is precisely this kind of example that makes the hair stand up all the institutions in which I introduced the dotVinum project to and whose speech is now more or less unanimous:
Specifically today, my interlocutors do not want to "go for it" but prefer to "wait and see". It is a position I understand because launching a project of this magnitude is for a global community, it also is an expensive initiative.
Do not forget: there can be one governance structure for the .WINE domain names, that at an international level. One Registry will be cleared through well-defined rules, to create domain names for the wine community. This project is internationally oriented and cannot, under any circumstances, be limited to the protection of wines in a single region. In this context it is important to take action now to build a global project.
Provisional date for filling applications: second half of 2011.
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