On Thursday, March 5, 2009 the ICANN Board listened to the views and concerns of attendees at its Mexico City meeting. The full transcript of the Public Forum can be found at: http://mex.icann.org/files/meetings/mexico2009/transcript-public-forum-05mar09-en.txt.
ICA Counsel Philip Corwin made the following remarks on behalf of ICA’s members (note: transcript edited to correct typos and for grammar and to provide clarity) ---
Dynamic Network Services Inc. conducted a series of interviews with opinion leader attendees at the Mexico City ICANN meeting, including one with ICA Counsel Philip Corwin.
In this interview he discusses the domain name investment and development industry perspective on the protection of trademark rights and geographic names in new gTLDs, as well as the future of ICANN in a post-JPA world.
The ICA is an International Member of ICANN’s Business Constituency. We recently learned that, on February 19, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), ICANN’s policymaking body, approved a motion (below) to establish a new Working Group on Registration Abuse Policies (WGRAP).
On Friday, February 6, 2009 an all-day ICANN Policy Forum was held at the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an imposing 1920s Indiana limestone structure located directly across Lafayette Park from the White House. The event reflects the growing Washington interest in the workings of ICANN as the September 2009 termination date of the current JPA approaches, as well as the substantial concern of the U.S. and international business communities regarding the potential risks and costs of a rapid expansion of the gTLD space.
While the Kentucky Supreme Court takes its time to consider overturning last month’s decision of the state appeals court rejecting Governor Steve Beshear’s attempt to seize 141 domain names on the grounds that they were “gambling devices”, the state of New York wasted no time introducing legislation to avoid any similar disputes over the interpretation of their state’s anti-gambling measures.
On January 27, 2009 the House Committee on the Judiciary adopted a wide-ranging plan for oversight to be conducted by it during the new, 111th Congress. As described below, they plan to delve into ICANN matters at the full Committee level, chaired by Representative John Conyers (D-MI). The Committee’s inquiry will be based upon its jurisdiction over intellectual property and criminal law and is entirely separate from inquiries that may be conducted by the Commerce Committee, which has general oversight over the Commerce Department and ICANN.
The ICA is an international member of ICANN’s Business Constituency. On January 26, 2009 the BC adopted a position regarding ICANN’s draft application guidelines for new gTLDs by a vote of 46-8, with 11 abstentions; overall, 30 members of the BC, representing 63% of its total membership, voted on this matter.
The ICA cast a No vote on the BC position. There were two principal reasons for this:
The Complainant, RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana S.p.A. of Italy, filed a complaint with the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center in connection with the domain rai.mobi. The Complainant alleged that in registering the domain rai.mobi the Respondent, Netwizzy Company S.L of Spain, infringed on the Complainant’s trademarks which incorporate the letters “RAI” to which the Complainant is widely recognized.
On Wednesday, January 13, 2009 the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus held its annual “State of the Net Conference”. This event, attended by hundreds, brings together members of Congress and their staff, regulatory agency personnel, lawyers and lobbyists, public interest groups and think tanks, and others interested in technology policy – and often serves as a jumping off point for Congressional inquiries and legislative activities for the remainder of the year. ICA has been an Advisory Committee member since 2007.
The Kentucky Governor's office wasted little time Wednesday, appealing Tuesday's decision by the Court of Appeals that domain names are not gambling devices under the meaning of the state law cited as the justification for the state's seizure of 141 domain names. By overturning the decision of the lower court, the Court of Appeals rejected the Governor's attempts to extend Kentucky law well beyond it's geographic limitations.