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[comments-wgb] "Sunrise + 20"
The "Sunrise + 20" proposal currently being debated is so monumentally
wrong-headed that it's been hard for me to take it seriously. This
proposal would give trademark owners priority in registering huge numbers
of domain names in circumstances where  the registration and use of
these domain names by others would not be infringing under national
trademark laws; and  there is no public-policy justification for
favoring the class of trademark owners over other potential registrants.
Well-considered arguments have been made in favor of granting protection
to marks that are genuinely internationally famous. The "sunrise + 20"
proposal, though, extends special rights to trademark holders *without
regard to* whether the marks are famous. Under the proposal, the exclusive
right to register "computer" during the sunrise period would go to entities
including Dunlop Olympic (Australia), who use "computer" as a trademark for
socks. Under this proposal, Travel magazine would get a priority right to
travel.shop, at the expense of a travel agency. Priority in registering
<grass.TLD> would go not to a lawn-products company, but to trademark
owners including Grass Products, Inc. (who make aftershave), Grass
Instrument Company (who make scientific instruments), and Alfred Grass Ges.
m.b.H. Metallwarenfabrik (who make metal fittings for furniture). No
trademark law policy justifies these results. A DNS in which a socks
manufacturer has a priority right to register the SLD "computers" in a
generic TLD is a DNS governed by silly and arbitrary rules.
There are sizable implementation problems in devising mechanisms to grant
protection to the owners of genuinely famous marks. Throwing up one's
hands and deciding to grant protection to trademark owners *whether or not*
their marks are famous, though, is the worst possible response to those
Professor of Law
Wayne State University