Palage Suggests Procedural & Substantive Safeguards
WASHINGTON D.C. - The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) pledged at its recent Mexico City meeting to establish an Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT). This team of 24 experts convenes today and is responsible for developing and proposing protections for trademark holders. Such protections are needed to ensure that ICANN's proposal to create new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .BLOG does not result in increased cybersquatting, phishing attacks and costly defensive registrations of domain names in new gTLDs. But the IRT process itself requires certain procedural and substantive safeguards, states former ICANN Board member Michael Palage, in "ICANN's Implementation Review Team (IRT) for gTLD: Safeguards Needed," released today by The Progress & Freedom Foundation.
The IRT's first teleconference occurs today, followed by its first in-person meeting in Washington, DC April 1-2. ICANN has issued no official announcement of the IRT's creation and has released no final list of IRT members. But given the importance of the IRT process, there must be maximum transparency throughout the IRT process consistent with ICANN's by-laws, argues Palage, a PFF Adjunct Fellow. This is especially critical with the pending expiration of ICANN's Joint Project Agreement with the U.S. government. Finally, maximum transparency is the only prudent course of action for the IRT because the risk of litigation from the new gTLD round is greater than the risk from previous TLD rounds.
Palage offers the following recommendations to minimize both the chance for litigation and potential legal liability:
- Maximize Openness and Transparency of the Implementation Review Team
- Require all IRT members to disclose any direct or indirect financial interest
- Dedicate a significant part of the next ICANN regional meeting to discussing each proposal prior to inclusion into the next Draft Applicant Guidebook
- Develop a comprehensive bundle of reasonable policies to address concerns of trademark owners that can be implemented without causing an undue burden on either ICANN or the registries and registrars
"ICANN's Implementation Review Team (IRT) for gTLD: Safeguards Needed" is available on the PFF website.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.