Thursday, 9 July 2009

Let's boycott the IRT report

So what is the case with trademark protection on the Internet? Is it some big conspiracy or are we really facing an overt expansion of trademark law? Let's see where we were and where we are now.
Ten years ago a big problem was presented by the massive use of the Internet. Along with P2P technology threatening copyrighted creations, domain names and their use by cybersquatters threatened trademarks. Cybersquatting occurred almost at the same time the Clinton Administration decided to privatize the Internet and create ICANN. The White Paper instructed ICANN to create the UDRP as a means to resolve these abusive domain name registrations that really harmed trademark rights. The UDRP was supposed to be the result of a legitimization process that equally took into account the rights of registrants, whilst acknowledging the unique nature of domain names.
In reality, the UDRP was a political game. Trademark owners gave a united front and exercised their political influence to create a system they would be able to control as much as possible. Non-commercial interests were squeezed in a subparagraph and were not given due attention. No one paused to think that, unless the system was scrutinized and properly administered, it would easily span out of control. That is where we are now. The UDRP is a biased system, controlled entirely by trademark owners.
And, it is not enough. It was never really enough for the trademark community. The IRT report is a perfect example. They want more-it is not enough. The report covers three major issues - the IP Clearinghouse, the Globally Protected Marks List, and the Uniform Rapid Suspension System - all of which seek to expand their rights and interests. It is really an issue of arrogance as trademark owners try to make all registrants look bad. Not all of them are bad and not all of them are cybersquatters. There are so many legitimate domain names that are so vital for the evolution of the Internet. They exist because registrants fight for them; we have to show them our solidarity and reject this report.

The full IRT report can be found at:
Find also the NCUC comments on the report at:

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