Comments on ICANN’s IRT Final Report
Several months ago, at the end of the ICANN Mexico City conference, the ICANN Board announced the establishment of an "Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) comprised of an internationally diverse group of people to develop and propose solutions to the over-arching issue of trademark protection [in connection with the proposals for new generic Top-Level Domains]." This issue is one of four “overarching issues” that must be resolved before the application process for new gTLDs is put in place.
Just before the ICANN Sydney conference began, the IRT issued its Final Report , with four major recommendations:
- IP Clearing House - a central information repository about trademarks
- Globally Protected Marks List - a list of world-famous marks that would get strong protection
- Uniform Rapid Suspension System - a procedure similar to the UDRP, but faster and less expensive
- Post-Delegation Dispute Mechanism - a procedure for dealing with a new registry that fails to live up to its commitments for rights protection
The recommendations have generated a great deal of controversy, with the latter three getting most of the discussion. The Registries Constituency (including PIR) has commented on the IRT Final Report. In brief, we believe the Final Report puts too much emphasis on obliging registries to enforce trademark rights, in place of requiring ICANN to devote more resources to enforcing its contracts with registrars. We also believe that ICANN already has the legal tools to deal with the admittedly rare instances where a registry is in business to profit from trademark infringement. Adding a new legal process and giving rights to outsiders who are not parties to the ICANN-registry agreements is likely to increase litigation and its expense for all concerned. It is not likely to deal effectively with the real problems of cybersquatting.