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[registrars] Fw: [council] GAC and country name reservations

I draw the attention of Registrars to the recent GAC Communique which recomends that the names of countries and distinct ecnomies should be reserved in any new gTLDs and warns that the registration of such names may be subject to dispute.  This warning picks up issues being canvassed under the WIPO process - partiularly the concern by many governments that they should be recognised a having intellectual propery rights in political/geographical names.
Many governments are signatory to a treaty (or similar agreement) under which they recognise appellation rights in relation to other industries.  While I am not fully across this, I do know that this has significantly impacted on the wine industry - so that only wines made from grapes grown in the French Champaigne area can be called "champaigne", ditto "burgundy" etc.  This had a big impact on the wine industry world wide and established a prededent which gives governments some form of IP rights in place names. 
As I see it,  this is primarily an issue for Registries who are being asked to reserve the relevant names.  However, in the absence of any defined list of relevant names (such as the two letter country codes on the the ISO 3166-1 list) there is scope for confusion and dispute - which has the potential to impact on Registrar business.
The NC is taking this issue under consideration and solicits comment from the Registrar constituency.
From: Philip Sheppard
Sent: 24 September 2001 16:56
Subject: [council] GAC and country name reservations

In a communiqué made by the Government Advisory Council at its Montevideo meeting http://www.icann.org/committees/gac/communique-09sep01.htm "the GAC recommends that the names of countries and distinct economies, particularly those contained in the ISO 3166-1 standard, as applied by ICANN in identifying ccTLDs, should be reserved by the .info Registry, (or if registered in the Sunrise Period challenged by the Registry and, if successful, then reserved) in Latin characters in their official language(s) and in English and assigned to the corresponding governments and public authorities, at their request, for use. These names in other IDN character sets should be reserved in the same way as soon as they become available"

In the same communiqué the GAC further "draws the attention of ICANN and the Registries to the fact that a large number of other names, including administrative sub-divisions of countries and distinct economies as recognised in international fora, may give rise to contested registrations. Accordingly the GAC recommends that Registrars and eventual Registrants should be made aware of this".


I believe that the NC should issue a statement about this and ask you to consult in your constituencies rapidly. I currently propose that we could consider:

- urging caution on the GAC in taking this step,

- point out that dot info is but the start of a TLD expansion and something much more interesting for countries could be possible

- propose that WIPO is the best place for discussion on geographical names.


Comments please.


NC Chair


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