Critiques to IP Clearing House and String Confusion Proposals of the IRT Final Report

Three critical reasons against the string comparison as proposed by the IRT
a) It subverts the bottom-up consensus of the new gTLD process.
String confusion issue was firstly researched by the GNSO IDN WG, which eventually stated that string confusion should be limited to visual similiarity. This is confirmed by the GNSO document to the Board. Although the gTLD guidebook is ambiguous on string confusion, which only says that any string should not inflict “user confusion”, the IRT proposal should not betray the community consensus by stretching it to “meaningful” confusion.
b) It is legally baseless.
No international law allows for trademark protection in translated form except for well-known marks. The string confusion extending to commerical impression (meaningful similarity) is equivalent to create additional protection indiscrimatively for all the marks, which is not acceptedly internationally.
c) It breaches free speech.
No trademark owner owns the meaning of a trademark, let alone the meaning in any script or language. A cross-script monopoly for words or “meaning” of a trademark is obvously not the intent of the new gTLD program.

Unreasonableness of IP Clearing House

It is a sham for uniform mandatory sunrise imposed on indiscriminately on all the potential new gTLD operators. This mandatory uniform sunrise approach can easily be gamed. Look at the thousands of trademarks registered in preparation for the new gTLDs. I can see hundreds of “.music” trademarks in various territories that can be searched and verified, not Tunisian registrations, but why should they be prioritized? I really want to know if such “clearing” covers the translation of a federally registered trademark or limited to the original mark string per se. If it were the first case, it would almost become a death sentence to IDNs (thinking about the trademark flooding to game the clearing house!).

2 Comments

  1. Galen Bohonik said,

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