[Gnso-newgtld-wg-wt5] Proposed clarification on intended use for city names

lists at christopherwilkinson.eu lists at christopherwilkinson.eu
Fri Aug 9 16:20:13 UTC 2019

Dear Sophie Hay:

I am afraid to say that I cannot support this proposal.

1.  There is a strongly held view in WT5 that all geographical names should benefit from prior authorisation or non-objection.
Otherwise the gTLD would confer a global private monopoly on the use of the name, without reference to the affected communities.
Predictability refers as much to the communities and users concerned as it does to the applicants.

2.  The reference to non-geographical use is quite problematic:  How shall it be monitored and if necessary policed? What happens in the future should the local authorities wish to recuperate their name for their own geographical purposes? Would there be a time limit? What do we mean by ‘primarily … associated…’ ?

3.  Th reference to ‘brands’ needs some clarification.

	-	If the brand is a trademark somewhere, it is already extensively protected in the DNS. However trademarks relate to sectors of activity and jurisdictions. I believe that there is nothing in trademark law that would authorise a global monopoly for any particular trademark, through a gTLD.

	-	if the brand is not a trademark, then one should be even more prudent; otherwise it might appear that the applicant is attempting an ‘end-run’ around the whole of trademark law by obtaining a global monopoly directly through a gTLD.

Naturally, if the name I question is also a geographical name, one risks embroiling the local authorities concerned in third party trademark disputes that are none of their making.

Best Regards

Christopher Wilkinson

PS: you will of course also be aware that several members of WT5 are quite sceptical about the scope and possibility for local authorities to ‘file objections’ etc.
This is why there is a strong preference for preventative rather than ‘curative’ measures.

> On 9 Aug 2019, at 15:20, Sophie Hey <sophie.hey at valideus.com <mailto:sophie.hey at valideus.com>> wrote:
> Dear all,
> Following the call this week and the request for proposals that we think could garner support, I would like to suggest amending the text in AGB part 2 on non-capital city names by adding the blue text. 
> It is clear from applicant statements within the application that the applicant will use the TLD primarily for purposes associated with the city name. For the avoidance of doubt, where the applicant states in their application that they intend to use the TLD as a .Brand (intend to have Specification 13 in their Registry Agreement) it will be taken that the TLD will not be used primarily for purposes associated with the city name.
> Rationale:
> The current AGB text states that “city names present challenges because city names may also be generic terms or brand names, and in many cases city names are not unique”. This language does not aim to change the position from the AGB 2012, but merely aims to provide greater clarity and certainty for potential applicants. At the same time, it ensures that the relevant authorities are consulted when an applicant intends to use a TLD for purposes associated with a city. If a government or local authority is concerned with an application, they are not precluded from filing an objection (as they could in 2012) or filing their own application. The current rules on resolving contention sets in AGB or module 4 will not be impacted by the text. 
> Kind regards,
> Sophie Hey
> Policy Advisor
> Valideus
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