Saturday, June 18, 2011

Domain Names, Brands, Trademarks, Cybersquatting, ICANN And WIPO

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) would hold the Second Public Meeting of the year on 20th June 2011 at Singapore. ICANN administers the Internet’s Domain Name System. ICANN could vote to approve its proposed program to introduce an unlimited number of new Generic Top-Level Domain Names (GTLD ).

This proposal has far reaching consequences for Domain Name, Brands holders, Trademark owners and even for International Organisations like ICANN and World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). This decision would give a new meaning to Domain Names Protection, Brands Protection, Trademarks Protection, Cybersquatting Disputes Resolution, Cyber Law Compliances, Cyber Security requirements, Cyber Due Diligence, etc.

Domain Name Protection would now require additional resources and efforts as the number of Cybersquatting cases would increase drastically. Even WIPO had confirmed in the past that Cybersquatting cases have increased significantly. This would increase the demand for Domain Name and Cyber Squatting Dispute Resolution Services at National and International level.

It would now be more difficult for Companies to protect their Brands. With an increased numbers of GTLDs, Brand Owners would be required to register, monitor and enforce their Trademarks across the Globe. International Institutions and Organisations like ICANN, WIPO, etc would require “Additional Experts” to resolves these Disputes.

Further, the introduction of large numbers of new GTLDs will also bring additional complexities and costs, raise additional Cyber Security Challenges for Organisations seeking to secure their online presence, maintain the integrity of their brands, and enhance their consumers’ online experience. The growing cyber attacks upon International Companies and Organisations like Gmail, Citicorp, etc proves this point. This is the reason why ICANN and INTERPOL are exploring methods to enhance Internet Security.

Right now, it would cost $185,000 US to apply, and Individuals or Organisations will have to show a “Legitimate Claim” to the name they are buying. This would significantly increase the workload of ICANN as “Claims” have to be “Formally Adjudicated” before being approved by ICANN.

Meanwhile, Companies, Brand holders and Trademark holders must start strengthening their in house legal capabilities or hire services of good law firms to meet the possible challenges that the new GTLDs would unleash. Failure to do so will put at risk their Brands and Trademarks and put at risk the trust, goodwill, and secure relationships with their consumers that these businesses have worked so hard to achieve.