A pair of recently released reports, authored by University of Chicago professor Dennis Carlton, says that introducing new top-level domains (TLDs) will not force trademark owners to make defensive registrations to protect their brands. ICANN plans to expand the number of generic TLDs, which it says will increase competition in the domain name registration market and allow for more innovation in the industry. However, some critics have expressed concern that adding new TLDs would force trademark owners to register their site in every new domain or risk customer confusion and cybersquatting.
After reviewing ICANN's plan, Carlton reports that any threat to trademark owners could be resolved by the creation of new procedures at ICANN. "Given ICANN's ability and incentive to modify existing procedures and adopt new ones that protect registrants' property rights, it would be a mistake at this time to address this concern through the draconian remedy of a ban on all new TLDs," Carlton writes.
In response to a critical report commissioned by AT&T and written by consultant Michael Kende, Carton says that not all companies make multiple registrations in different TLDs to prevent cybersquatting, and that some do so to increase traffic to a central site. Interested parties have until July 20 to provide ICANN with feedback on Carlton's reports.
From IDG News Service
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