Domain Name Supporting Organization
Working Group B - Famous Trade-Marks

REPORT TO NC of current status on WG B

February 15th, 2000

From: "Philip Sheppard" 

REPORT TO NC of current status on WG B.
1. WG B chairman Michael Palage has posted the following:

The upcoming ICANN meeting in Cairo will be an important milestone in
connection with the efforts of Working Group B (protecting famous
trademarks) and Working Group C (additional top level domains). The ICANN
Board has expressed an interest in helping to facilitate the consensus
building process. Please review the excerpt from the December 9, 1999 ICANN
Board teleconference listed below:

"The status of policy development by the DNSO concerning gTLD expansion and
famous names was discussed. At its May 1999 meeting in Berlin, the Board
referred the recommendations of the World Intellectual Property Organization
concerning gTLD expansion and famous names to the DNSO (Resolution 99.48).
The Names Council established two working groups (WG-C and WG-B) to analyze
and report on these issues. Despite considerable work, both working groups
have had difficulty developing consensus on significant sub-issues. Given
the scheduling requirements of the bylaws, it will be impractical for the
Board to adopt a policy in either of these areas at its March 2000 meeting.
Nonetheless, the Board felt it was appropriate to schedule these issues for
substantive, detailed discussion at the public forum in March, so that the
Board might become more familiar with the various viewpoints and so it might
contribute to progress toward consensus".

I have informed Andrew McLaughlin that Working Group B intends to have an
interim report available for consideration by the Names Counsel and the
Board at the Cairo meeting.  I am currently
drafting a ballot based upon the issues discussed in the position papers and
Alvestrand's "points of agreement."   After voting on these issues, myself
and the two Names Counsel facilitators, Kathy Kleiman from the
Non-Commercial Constituency and Philip Sheppard from the Business
Constituency, will begin drafting an interim report.

It is contemplated that this report will be circulated for public comment
sometime around the beginning of February. Near the end of the 30 day
comment period and prior to the Cairo meeting, I will attempt to coordinate
with Eric Menge from the US Small Business Administration a roundtable
discussion. Eric recently arranged a similar roundtable discussion, with a
telephone bridge, for the Working Group C report.

I believe it is important that this Working Group B focus during this
crucial time period before us. For those of you that may not be familiar
with the history of  Working Group A (Uniform Dispute Policy), after a
contentious meeting in Santiago, Chile the final drafting of the UDP policy
was left to a small drafting committee of five or six people. I would like
for this Working Group to follow the bottoms-up consensus building ideal
that ICANN is based. In order for this to happen there will have to be some
movement on behalf of ALL participants in this Working Group.

In an effort to facilitate this "movement" I call upon Kathy and Philip to
rally their respective constituencies and help find a middle ground in this

I remind everyone to review the position papers submitted to date to
expedite the consensus building process at


2. Kathy and myself have recently posted the following to WG B designed to
refresh the path to consensus:

Reaching common ground on new gTLDs and the treatment of famous names.
In taking on leadership positions with WG-B, Philip Sheppard, Names Council
member for the Business Constituency and Kathryn Kleiman, Names Council
member for the Non-Commercial Constituency, find that many people feel that
there are differences of views which cannot be reconciled and cannot be
bridged. We do not share that view. The following is a set of ideas that we
wish to share with you as a basis for finding some common ground and moving
forward together. We look forward to discussing these ideas, and the
principles, with you on this list.

One group of stakeholders, the"IP advocates" are all shell shocked from the
wars in dot com. They were given a situation (the monopoly of dot com) and
forced to ensure that off-line name protection would be no worse on-line.
The failure of this is that off-line is more diverse and better understood
by consumers than on-line but that the dot com monopoly prevents diversity
and so leads to consumer confusion. Given this experience a not unreasonable
view of the future is as a set of similar battles - a series of land rushes.

A second group of stakeholders, the "freedom to name" advocates are also
shell-shocked with many small businesses, individuals and non-commercial
organisations losing domain names. This group recognises that although
e-commerce is big and getting huge there is more to the Internet than
commercial interests and that there is no reason for trade marks to have a
priority status in areas where they do not belong.
Registries and registrars do not want to get caught in the crossfire.

Common ground
1. The IP advocates do not have IP as their objective but as their strategy
to achieve an objective. The objective is the protection of their own
consumers from confusion with other good faith commerce or from bad faith
commerce (pirates, fraudsters).
2. The freedom advocates do not have no trade mark priority as their
objective but as a strategy to achieve an objective. The objective is to
allow a net user to use a name that is appropriate to the rationale of their

The two objectives are the same once you look at them from the perspective
of the net user and NOT the domain name holder: "When someone wants to find
me, they should be able to do so" .

And it is possible once you remove the monopoly of dot com and the future
on-line world becomes more like the off-line world, both groups should live
more easily together.

WG B and famous names
This harmony exists off-line because it is usually clear when you want to
buy a Coke (go to a supermarket) or coke for a power station (phone a coal

This is where the link to new gTLDs and WG C comes in.  The common objective
in domain naming is: to create clarity for the net user by a controlled and
responsible growth of top-level domain names.

Would the following principles allow us to open a range of new domain names
for all forms of speech, and make it easier for Internet  users to find what
they are looking for -- from famous e-commerce sites to political speech?

1. Trust  a gTLD should give the net user confidence that it stands for
what it purports to stand for.
2. Semantics  a gTLD should be meaningful in a language with a significant
number of net users.
3. Findability  a gTLD should assist a net user to find a particular domain
4. Differentiation  a gTLD should differentiate from all other gTLDs so as
not to confuse net users.
5. Honesty  a gTLD should not unnecessarily increase opportunities for
malicious or criminal elements who wish to defraud net users.
6. Simplicity - a gTLD should not impose an overly bureaucratic procedure on
a registry.
7. Competition  new gTLDs should foster competition in the domain name
8. Diversity - new gTLDs should foster the expression of views, both
commercial and non-commercial.
9. Multiplicity - new gTLDs should become available as needed to meet the
needs of an expanding Internet community.

Next steps
Phase1. We invite comments within WG B on these principles and we hope to
all work towards a common agreement on them (revised or otherwise).
Phase 2. AFTER that common agreement there can be discussion on the
implementation of the principles in conjunction with WG C.


Philip Sheppard
AIM - European Brands Association
9  av. des Gaulois  B-1040 Brussels
Tel +322 736 0305 Fax +322 734 6702

Information from:
DNSO Names Council