Archive for IDNs

ICANN Annunal Meeting in Toronto

ICANN completed its 43rd meeting in Toronto. The new CEO took office and a couple high-level officers appointed. Over the busy week, I drafted a few policy documents that have been adopted by the pertinent constituencies.

I drafted the “ALAC Statement on Trademark Clearinghouse Document”.

In August 2012 the Registry Stakeholder Group filed a DIDP requesting all documents relating to

• Any claims alleging ownership of intellectual property rights made by any bidder or bidders [for Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)] responding to the RFI, including but not limited to claims of copyright in data or compilations of data, patents, trademarks or trade secrets; and

• Any analysis regarding validity of these claims.

In September 2012 ICANN responded that: Regarding this item, to the extent that bidders made claims of ownership of intellectual property rights associated with the proposed operation of the Trademark Clearinghouse, those materials are subject to the same conditions of non–disclosure identified in conjunction with Documents on cost and financial models regarding the operation of TMCH. Regarding claims of ownership of intellectual property rights arising out of the operation of TMCH are being negotiated and will be published in the finalized agreement later.

The ALAC wishes to request further information on the following:

• Intellectual property rights affect or impact ICANN’s decision and selection of TMCH providers. Legally, except trade secrets, intellectual property rights, including Patents, Copyright, Trademarks, should be publicly disclosed in due course either for subsistence or exercise. Will intellectual property rights that affect or impact ICANN’s decision or selection, be disclosed to the community in due course, or will they be allowed to remain secret?
• Will ICANN (and its community) be appropriately licensed on royalty-free or RAND (reasonableand-non-discriminatory) basis by the relevant intellectual property owners?
• Is ICANN developing necessary intellectual property policy for decision-making or contract negotiation?

The ALAC further advises that ICANN needs to implement a thoughtful and comprehensive intellectual property policy in which the global public interest is properly secured. In this regard, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) intellectual property policy sets a good example.

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I draft ALAC Comments on IDN ccTLDs PDP.

We note with concern that the draft recommendations consider selected IDN ccTLD strings to be confusingly similar based on their appearance to “a reasonable Internet user who is unfamiliar with the script” although “linguistic, technical, and visual perception factors” will be taken into consideration.  Notwithstanding the merit and rationale for this assessment criterion, an assessment on confusing similarity based primarily on the appearance of selected strings to users unfamiliar with the script may not be consistent with the nature and purpose of IDN ccTLDs, which are fundamentally introduced for the use and benefit of local IDN users in pertinentccTLD territories.  Without taking into account sufficient linguistic factors, problematic results may occur.  For example, an IDNccTLD that is assessed as not confusingly similar by a user “who is unfamiliar with the script” may well be deemed confusingly similar by the local IDN user and vice versa.  We believe that this particular issue can be addressed in the policy making processthrough more consultations with the IDN communities in implicated ccTLD territories.

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ICANN Meeting in Prague

ICANN’s 44th meeting was held on June 23-28, 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic. This was another multi-stakeholder international gather for ICANN, attracting a number of international organizations, governments, civil society groups and businesses. During the meeting, a series of high-profile sessions on Internet governance, New gTLDs Program, Trademark measures, etc. were held. Lei Liu, the doctoral candidate of IIPL,participated the meeting as a fellow selected by ICANN Fellowship Program.

One of interesting decision announced by ICANN is the appointment of Trademark Clearinghouse providers, namely IBM and Deloitte respectively responsible for database technical management and data management. Both are new gTLD applicants and both based in Belgium. The whole selection process was completely black-boxed and staff-driven. Many community-based bidders were ignored.

Another issue interesting is ICANN’s handing with so-called “Academy Training Proposal.” Despite the declaration from the staff that they had been following the discussion and drafting of this proposal in at-large community for more than one year, they were not aware of draft curriculum and setting arrangement  that had been online for quite a long time. It seems that a new and separate pilot program would be run by ICANN in Toronto, although the leading staff would be willing to listen to the community inputs still.

During the meeting, Lei Liu took part in many sessions and discussions with the other 21 fellows from 17 countries around the world. As newcomers, the fellows showed extremely high enthusiasm in ICANN’s business. It is believed that today’s newcomers will play a more important role in the future.

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ICANN Meeting in San Jose

ICANN 43rd International Meeting was held in San Jose, Costa Rica on March 11-16, 2012. The cloudy great volcano likes wearing a white hat, symbolizing the most green country in Caribbean sea. It was a long trip from Beijing to Los Angeles to San Salvador to San Jose, almost 2 days on road. The tiredness did not prevent a group of us from driving a few hundred of miles to visit the Volcano. After enjoying a volcanic hot spring  and a short night in a country inn, we drove to the Great One in the early morning. Unfortunately, we did not see the miracle circle top in the white cloudy dawn. But a a visit to a mountain-view was pleasure and refreshing. Then another long drive back to the conference hall in Ramada Hotel. I immediately joined the ccNSO Strategic Operational working group meeting.

From Monday I have been busy with a variety of meetings in different constituencies. In the afternoon, I noted the seriously biased IDN Variants Project Plan and had a long debate with the ICANN team to be funded by million of dollars against their unfair treatment to Chinese-character set.

Tuesday was a busy day full of ccNSO meetings. I made a presentation in the most interesting session of the whole meeting, “law enforcement”. After a couple of boring briefings on SOPA bills etc., MX and KR, my presentation on the domain names real names campaign attracted huge attention. People from GNSO or other stakeholder group joined the meeting and kept asking questions. What’s interesting was that a few non-professional and self-nominated “cyber-watchers” irresponsibly reported my presents to the domestic authorities, which got me in trouble later on after my coming back to Beijing.  Were they officious or wicked? I don’t know but they did waste tax-payers’ money to travel 10,000 miles to espionage me in San Jose. On the other hand, Internet-cleaning campaign was propagated by themselves as a big achievement. Idiots ain’t they?

Poor me was working hard to organizing a Chinese community meeting when being spied by these brainless amateur spies. I chaired a land-mark swimming pool meeting on Wednesday morning. I briefed them on IDN variant issues and the threat of project plan, and addressed the trademark clearing house. Then I arranged the group of people to attend the different meetings to voice the Chinese community’s concerns. Knet, Conac, dotAsia, Cnnic and a few new gTLD applicants and registrars joined the meeting. On Wednesday morning, I gave another speech on registrations by individuals under dotCN. I assume it succinctly follows the lines this time. Whose line is it anyway?

Thursday morning I spent a little time in the downtown of San Jose. It was pretty small but reasonable. I came back in time for the public forum in the afternoon. Surprisingly there were not many tough questions this time. People got tired after debating for more than 10 years.

Friday morning I took a walk on the Golf Course nearby but was lost eventually. That was bad experience and also a bad sign actually–the beginning of my long torment. I’m leaving for the airport at noon. I lost my luggage en route–San Jose to Miami to Los Angeles to Beijing. I suffered terribly in those 5 days.

 

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ICANN New gTLD Forum in Beijing

ICANN’s CEO and a group of top experts in China spoke at a Beijing event on December 8, 2011 aimed at informing, educating and engaging China’s business and Internet communities, as part of ICANN’s global gTLD communication program.

Beckstrom praised China’s role in helping to build a strong global Internet and for helping to make Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) a reality in China, for the benefit of its 1.3 billion people. IDNs facilitate the use of non-Latin characters, like Chinese, in Internet domain names.

Prof. Xue summarized the Chinese Internet community’s contribution to DNS and particularly to IDN technology and policy development. She emphasized the important of global outreach observing the principles of multilingualism and culture diversity.

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AP Regional IGF and ICANN in Singapore

Mid-June was a busy time. 2 Internet events was held in Singapore consecutively. The 2nd Asia Pacific Regional IGF was on June 15-16, 2011 in Singapore Suntec Center and ICANN meeting was on June 19-24, 2011 in Raffles Place.

Regional IGF was a policy discussion form involving a couple of stakeholder groups. Although few local participants joined the event, the Regional IGF attracted many overseas visitors. Prof. Xue chaired the plenary session “Anti-Counterfeit and Other Controversies” and managed to organize interesting presentations and discussions.

Introduction

The Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement would be a treaty to put in place new and higher international standards on intellectual property enforcement. Apart from its obvious TRIPS-Plus nature and forceful use of ISPs as private police, ACTA reveals a couple of critically important aspects that deserve careful scrutiny from the perspective of Internet Governance. ACTA’s plurilateral and closed negotiation process directly goes against the multi-stakeholder and open and transparent participation principles developed for Internet Governance. ACTA’s narrow focus on intellectual property rights ignores human rights concerns, especially free speech and access to the Internet, that are essential in the information society. ACTA demonstrate the temptation to shift from the existing multilateral WIPO-WTO regime to a more restricted and opaque system to enforce the private exclusive rights on the global information network. In addition, other domestic (such as US Bill “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA)”) or private (such as ICANN’s trademark measures in new gTLD process) enforcement measures for intellectual property will exert significant global impact. The session intends to have a vivid discussion on all these interesting issues in the most populous and economic-booming region of the world.

Chair: Hong Xue (Beijing Normal University)

Speakers included academics, businesses and technical community from US, Switzerland, Hong Kong SAR, New Zealand and Malaysia.

Summary

This session talked about the following issues:

a)      Specific legal initiative, such as US new legislative initiative, especially protecting IP to use domain name system to enforce intellectual property rights. Intermediary liability has always been a big issue for the development of internet, cloud computing and its impact on intellectual property.

b)      Obviously, our focus of discussion has been on anti-counterfeit trade agreement. The forum shifting from multilateral to plurlateral, and the local response to this ACTA negotiation process.

A couple of lessons learned from the discussions.

Lesson 1 is that most people agree on the process for making IP law or policy should be opened and transparent. The secrecy of ACTA negotiation is really the wrong way to presume the IP interest and will not balance the whole system.

Lesson 2 is that internet property should be updated and refreshed. Internet property was created after industrial revolution and international IP regime has been going on for more than 100 years. However, we are now facing the new business model, new media environment and especially the new way of life. In order to make intellectual property effective, internet, in our new social media environment, to make it relevant to our real life, and need to be remixed, and recreated. Intellectual property is supposed to protect creation and stimulate originality. It should be able to be creative by itself. It should not be stifled and refused to respond to new business and media environment.

Lesson 3 is that we believe intellectual property is only a link of the whole social life, so it should be accessed in a wider context and take into account the impact on consumer protection, on business competition and especially on human right protection, including but not limited to privacy and free speech.

Prof. Xue was also panelists of the other two parallel sessions, i.e. ICANN and New gTLD and International Law Enforcement. The conference materials are on the website.

ICANN meeting in Singapore immediately followed the regional IGF. After more than 10 years’ debates and 6 years’ policy making and despite pressure from GAC and USG, ICANN Board finally approved the new gTLD program around 12:00pm on June 20, 2011.  Few people applauded at the decision but many others were too tired and fed up by the long process to be excited.

Prof. Xue raised a visionary question at the Public Forum but was interrupted by the stepping down Chair of Board who seemed wanting to spend most of the time ceremonially, well for his friend. The question is about the implementation of the so-called trademark clearing house. Not only non-Latin trademarks could be excluded as “device marks” by a database operators who know nothing about the trademark scripts, but the trademark service providers without knowledge of Chinese language would deem the domain names in simplified characters not visually similar to the trademark in traditional characters, vice verse. It seems the very technical variants table would have to be referred by both the database operator and verification center to prevent “variant-squatting” in new gTLD process. Unfortunately ICANN Board did not have the chance to listen to such important view.

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