[gnso-rpm-wg] TMCH Blog

J. Scott Evans jsevans at adobe.com
Thu Feb 2 19:08:09 UTC 2017


Lori makes excellent points here.

Back in 1999, I suggested a possible solution to this issue that I thought would end all the trouble. It was during a conference call the commercial and business community had with the ICANN Board member selected to represent our interest on the original board of directors for ICANN. I believe the gentleman was from Dun & Bradstreet.

Here is my proposal:

Why not have a directory system not a first-come, first-served system? That is, anyone can get any name in any space. This system accommodates duplicate identical strings. As soon as two or more holders register the domain, it is redirected to directory page (similar to the way scrabble.com is handled). On that page, you’d find all the identical domains with a brief description.

For example:

Dominos.com: A large sugar and confectionary manufacture located in Sugarland, Texas.

Dominos.com: A pizza restaurant chain offering the best home delivery pizza in the business.

Dominos.com: The International Association of Domino Players organization. A non-profit group promoting the fun and benefit of playing domino games.

Of course, the first-come, first-serve system pushes artificial scarcity and allows speculators to run a robust (some might say extortionist) market for highly sought after domains. Again, I will repeat, that the entire public justification for expanding the DNS was that, “all the good domain names were gone” and that SME’s and emerging economies were suffering due to the lack of short, pithy domains. However, in the implementation of the expansion ICANN allowed all new registries to create “PREMIUM NAMES” specific to their top level domain. Basically, registries reserved all the dictionary terms that might be most relevant to their top level domain. These registries then charged premium prices or auctioned these domain names off to speculators who then sought to sell them in the secondary market. The problem is that ICANN has never tackled the REAL problem (IMHO) which is that domains are a commodity and the companies that run the system are also speculators in the market creating huge conflicts of interest and a desire to retain artificial scarcity to keep prices on the secondary market high.

J. Scott

J. Scott Evans | Associate General Counsel - Trademarks, Copyright, Domains & Marketing |


345 Park Avenue

San Jose, CA 95110
408.536.5336 (tel), 408.709.6162 (cell)
jsevans at adobe.com<mailto:jsevans at adobe.com>


From: <gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org>> on behalf of Lori Schulman <lschulman at inta.org<mailto:lschulman at inta.org>>
Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 10:53 AM
To: George Kirikos <icann at leap.com<mailto:icann at leap.com>>, gnso-rpm-wg <gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [gnso-rpm-wg] TMCH Blog

Recognition of the importance of protecting trademark rights in the DNS has been essential to ICANN’s policymaking since before ICANN was organized.   Per J Scott’s note, trademark rights are government granted rights.  Domain names are not.  While some domain names can function as trademarks in the legal sense of the word, domain names are licensed assets with no inherent vested rights.  This makes them fundamentally different than trademarks.  The difference creates the tensions that we see when discussing how trademark rights should be addressed/recognized within the domain system.  The UDRP/URS were designed to keep costs down for both sides of a domain dispute as the administrative process contemplated is much less expensive and onerous than a court driven process.  Having managed very large and very small portfolios of trademarks and domains throughout my career, I can tell you that this is empirically true no matter the size of the business either as a plaintiff or defendant in a dispute.    Forcing trademark owners into court will force domain registrants there too and in much higher number than we see today.   The UDRP is a reasonable alternative to what would otherwise be an endless stream of lawsuits overloading already burdened court systems.  The use issue forms the fundamental core of trademark protection and different jurisdictions have different standards for when use must be demonstrated and what qualifies as good use.  This requires deep expertise and knowledge of trademark law.  If we were to create some kind of  use test in the TMCH beyond what is already there, costs would significantly increase as you would need essentially a trademark office-like system for review and dispute resolution.  In terms of gaming the system, so far, I have seen much more gaming by investors than I have seen by brands…as brands have been targeted by the investors in very well publicized instances.

In terms of your math, George, I would be absolutely be in favor of lowering the costs of a UDRP as it would lower barriers of entry for small businesses and noncommercial organization who are continually victimized by cyber squatters.

Lori S. Schulman
Senior Director, Internet Policy
International Trademark Association (INTA)
+1-202-704-0408, Skype: lsschulman

[cid:image005.jpg at 01D270D2.1801CD20]

From: gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org> [mailto:gnso-rpm-wg-bounces at icann.org] On Behalf Of George Kirikos
Sent: Thursday, February 02, 2017 1:36 PM
To: gnso-rpm-wg <gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org>>
Subject: Re: [gnso-rpm-wg] TMCH Blog


(and trying to combine multiple responses in one email)

On Thu, Feb 2, 2017 at 12:51 PM, <trachtenbergm at gtlaw.com><mailto:trachtenbergm at gtlaw.com%3e> wrote:
> I think you are trying to apply domain speculation thinking where it is all about monetary value to protection of trademark rights, which is not necessary focused or valued in terms of specific monetary value. They are not the same thing.
> If life isn’t fair is an acceptable justification then why change the current system because it is not fair that some may have gamed it by using trademark registrations obtained solely for the purpose of registering valuable domain names during sunrise? You can’t have it both ways.

1. The "domain speculation thinking" is your term for what is simply
rational economic decision-making. Even for trademark protection,
rational trademark holders prioritize enforcement based on a
comparison between the economic benefit of stopping the abuse relative
to the economic cost of that enforcement.

2. The "life isn't fair" in my statement was referencing the fact that
not everyone has the same wealth. That is entirely different from
those misusing trademark registrations obtained solely for the purpose
of registering valuable domain names -- those TMs would be invalid in
jurisdictions requiring use (and thus shouldn't have been granted in
the first place).

3. Some folks continue to dance around the issue, and ignore the
economics completely. Each and every time you try to add a wrinkle to
the procedure (i.e. "tweaks" that seek to give better proof of use, or
other modifications), all that does is slightly change the "costs" for
some actors, but doesn't change the underlying economics by much. i.e.
it attempts to impose a "price" indirectly, rather than explicitly and
directly setting a price that would actually change behaviour.

4. For those saying "small" trademark holders would be affected ---
fine, change the economics accordingly --- should the quota be 10,000
marks? Should the cost be $1? Once you make the cost explicitly be $1,
that just says "Fine, we're going to accept all the gaming behaviour,
because we're prepared to look the other way!" That's an invitation to
those who are misusing the sunrise periods to continue doing what
they're doing.

While some constituencies in the GNSO might be fine with that balance
(i.e. accept every TM, and allow all kinds of abuse of the sunrise
periods), other constituencies might draw the line for that balance

5. Let me give you an example -- ACPA allows damages of up to $100,000
for cybersquatting. That's an explicit cost on cybersquatters that
they take into account, and has a deterrent effect. What if that limit
instead was $500? Behaviour would obviously change accordingly,
because cybersquatters are rational.

6. A further example -- it costs $1000+ to file a UDRP (on top of
legal costs, so a number like $5000 might be more relevant for those
who use lawyers). If the total costs were $300, there would be a lot
more filings (which would reduce the benefits of cybersquatting, and
thus change the economics of abuse).

In conclusion, the economics of all the actors are paramount, and seem
to be mostly ignored. By focusing on those economics directly, as
policymakers we can precision-target the policies to directly target
those behaviours, and reduce all the "collateral damage" on the
innocent actors.


George Kirikos
gnso-rpm-wg mailing list
gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org<mailto:gnso-rpm-wg at icann.org>

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