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[wg-c] cTLDs and TM dilution
After taking a much-needed break from all things Netlike over the weekend,
I've been catching up on mail and such, and saw the discussion of cTLDs.
It seems to me that cTLDs would go a long way towards eliminating the
issue of dilution that the TM/IP interests are concerned about, and this
would be a good thing. This leaves us with the issue of SLDs that are
"identical to, or confusingly similar to" existing TMs. (I'm using the
language of S.1255 in quotes there, as it's about the best description I've
seen of what I mean when I say 'direct infringement'.)
Having read through some of this, and thinking about cTLDs as a whole,
it got me thinking: What is meant by 'domain name'? Is it *just* the
SLD portion of a domain name? Is it the SLD plus the TLD? I raise these
questions because I'm unclear myself how that term's being used in S.1255.
However, with cTLDs, the boundaries would become a bit clearer. It's all
a matter of categorization. Right now, for argument's sake, we've basically
got .com, and a bunch of other TLDs in which a lot of people have registered
similar SLDs, some of which infringe on those in .com, or vice versa.
Now, if we take all the TM/IP interests, and throw them into one TLD, we're
going to start arguments, because as was pointed out earlier, there are
TMs that can be similar or even identical as long as the markets are
sufficiently different (I hope I'm getting that distinction right).
When both of these TM holders go to register an SLD, it's first come,
first served, and a battle ensues, because both want to be in a category
by themselves, as they are in the marketplace. One or both of them
ends up self-categorizing, and we end up with acme-shirts.com and
acme-socks.com, or acme.com and acme-socks.com, or what-have-you.
Now, if we opened up several cTLDs, each of which had as a prerequisite
proof of TM holdership (is there a proper term for this?) each company
could have it's own "correct" SLD within a cTLD which differentiates
each company from the other, so we end up with, for example, acme.com
and acme.foot, or whatever.
Similarly, we could have a bevy of noncommerical cTLDs, as was mentioned
Now, assuming this is okay with everyone, we're faced with two problems:
1) The perennial "How many" problem, which I think has now been boiled
down to be more specific: How many registries are out there now, and
how many can they handle; additionally, what kind of registry growth can
we expect in the next, say, five years or so (both in existing registry
capacity, and in number of registries), and what are the projected figures
for that growth?
2) The perennial "Which ones" problem, which can now be defined more
distinctly: What categories are needed, what should their charters be,
and how can we minimize the overlap among the categories to maximally
differentiate all SLDs across the TLDs?
There's also the issue of grandfathering the existing TLDs, but I
think once we hit upon the correct new TLDs, we'll see a mass exodus
of people moving from .com and into the new TLDs where they can have
much more reasonable SLDs, instead of things like
Of course, one could ask whether those moving from the existing to the
new TLDs will relinquish their existing, much less useful SLDs, or hold
onto them. I'd argue that the more useless the SLD is, the less likely it
is to matter, because the chance that someone else wants it is directly
proportional to its usefulness, and the more useful the existing SLD is,
the more likely someone is to hold onto it, for whatever reason
Mark C. Langston Let your voice be heard:
Systems Admin http://www.icann.org
San Jose, CA http://www.dnso.org