[CWG-Stewardship] ICG request concerning IANA trademark and iana.org domain name

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Mon Jun 22 20:21:34 UTC 2015


On Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 11:33:56AM -0300, Andrew Sullivan wrote:
> For whatever it's worth, Jari and I (with our IETF and IAB hats on)
> asked the IAOC to ask the IETF's counsel for his view (this is within
> Jorge's area of specialization).  I've asked him to review some of the
> discussion on the list as well.  I observe that one of the things the
> Trust does is hold the marks for the IETF.

Jorge got back to us already, and he had some observations.  I'll

He observed that there should be no legal impediment to the IETF Trust
holding the mark.  The IETF Trust could hold the mark and license it
as appropriate to all the relevant entities, in much the way that
Disney licenses marks for (e.g.) clothes or toys, neither of which
Disney makes itself.

He also observed that there might be questions about the Trust's
ability to manage a mark, but noted that the IETF Trust has been doing
as much for some time for other marks it holds.  Assuming the Trust is
prepared to take on the burden, there's no reason to suppose it
couldn't manage the mark.

So, it seems to me we have at least one lawyer who thinks there would
not be a legal impediment to undertaking this, at least in respect of
trademark law.  (I think the use of the iana.org domain name is less
problematic, since there surely couldn't be a legal impediment to any
organization acting as registrant there.  At least, I hope we all
agree about that.)  I observe that the IETF Trust (and the IETF
itself) has not expressed a preference for the disposition of the
trademark or domain name, though it has expressed its willingness to
hold them if that is useful.

Finally, I will point out something that was posted to another mailing
list.  In a message to ianaplan at ietf.org, Bob Hinden pointed out that
the IETF Trust's charter extends past IETF materials.  Article II of
the Trust Agreement says this:

    Such purposes include, but are not limited to, the advancement of
    education and public interest by acquiring, holding, maintaining
    and licensing certain existing and future intellectual property
    and other property used in connection with the Internet standards
    process and its administration, for the advancement of the science
    and technology associated with the Internet and related

Bob argues that the operation of IANA lands pretty squarely in the
scope of, "[A]dvancement of the science and technology associated with
the Internet," so the Trust might well therefore be an appropriate

Therefore, it seems to me that the question of whether the trademark
and the domain name _can_ be moved may be answered in the affirmative.
In addition, it seems to me that the question of whether the trademark
and domain name _should_ me moved could be answered in the affirmative

Best regards,

A (speaking only for myself, as ever)

Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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