Tag Archives: top_level_domains

WIPO’s UDRP ‘Overview’ Gets Bigger (and Better)

Just as the number of domain names and domain name disputes have expanded significantly in recent years, so, too, has WIPO’s “Overview,” which has been updated to address the growing complexity of cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

WIPO has just published the third edition of its “WIPO Overview of WIPO Panel Views on Selected UDRP Questions” — commonly referred to as “WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0.” The document addresses some of the most common, important and difficult issues that frequently arise in UDRP cases.

WIPO Overview 3.0 is the first update to this document in six years — a time period in which a lot of changes have come to the domain name system, including the arrival of more than 1,200 new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and a new domain name dispute policy (the Uniform Rapid Suspension System, or URS).

“Following a review of thousands of WIPO panel decisions issued since WIPO Overview 2.0, this edition has been updated to now include express references to over 800 representative decisions (formerly 380) from over 250 (formerly 180) WIPO panelists,” according to an introduction to WIPO Overview 3.0. “The number of cases managed by the WIPO Center has nearly doubled since its publication of WIPO Overview 2.0; as a result, the number of issues covered in this WIPO Jurisprudential Overview 3.0 has significantly increased to reflect a range of incremental DNS and UDRP case evolutions.”

New and Expanded Topics

New or expanded topics addressed in WIPO Overview 3.0 include the following:

  • The relevance of a top-level domain name – a topic I have written about before. The Overview says: “Where the applicable TLD and the second-level portion of the domain name in combination contain the relevant trademark, panels may consider the domain name in its entirety for purposes of assessing confusing similarity (e.g., for a hypothetical TLD ‘.mark’ and a mark ‘TRADEMARK’, the domain name <trade.mark> would be confusingly similar for UDRP standing purposes).”
  • The relationship between the UDRP and the URS – another topic I have written about before. Citing a decision in which I successfully represented a trademark owner in both a URS and a UDRP proceeding, the Overview says, “There have… been UDRP proceedings filed where the same domain name was previously subject to a URS case. In such event, the UDRP complaint should make this clear.”
  • WIPO’s role in implementing a UDRP decision — an issue that occasionally arises when a registrar fails to transfer a domain name despite a UDRP order to do so. In my experience, this is often attributable to ignorance, not defiance, but in either case enlisting WIPO’s assistance can be helpful. Although the Overview makes clear that WIPO’s role “normally ends upon notification of a panel decision to the parties and registrar,” it also says that parties may “raise such implementation matters to the WIPO Center’s attention.”

The Role of the Overview

In any event, WIPO Overview 3.0 should be helpful to any party filing or defending a UDRP complaint. Not only does the document explain the consensus view on many issues, it also provides numerous citations to relevant decisions, which can provide a useful resource for additional research.

Still, as the Overview itself makes clear, not all UDRP issues are entirely settled, and (as in all legal proceedings) the facts of each case will be important.

As the Overview states, the document “cannot serve as a substitution for each party’s obligation to argue and establish their particular case under the UDRP, and it remains the responsibility of each party to make its own independent assessment of prior decisions relevant to its case.”

Therefore, parties would be wise to consult the newly expanded and even more helpful Overview — but, they still must conduct appropriate research and analysis to prepare and present the strongest possible arguments in a UDRP case.

Written by Doug Isenberg, Attorney & Founder of The GigaLaw Firm

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How Aruba is Using Racing Sponsorship to Make Itself a Premium Brand

Sitting in the Aruba hospitality at the Italian round of the Superbike World Championship in Imola, CEO Stefano Cecconi exudes passion. The love he has for motorcycles in general, and racing in particular, is evident.

Less so is the rational behind Aruba’s multi-million-euro-a-year spend to be the title sponsor for the factory Ducati World Superbike team. For Internet industry onlookers at least.

To Cecconi, it’s obvious. This sponsorship provides a golden opportunity for Aruba to bask in Ducati’s glory.

Making an emotion connection to the customers

As a provider of web services, Aruba exists in a highly competitive and price sensitive market which is devoid of emotional customer attachment. Ducati, on the other hand, is a maker of premium motorcycles and often spoken of as the 2-wheeled equivalent of Ferrari. Now the property of the Volkswagen group, Ducati commands the same level of fervour and uses the same signature red as the Italian sportscar maker. Associating its image with Ducati’s means Aruba is no long just another IT company.

The results seem to speak for themselves. Aruba is a market leader in Italy, and also very active in Eastern Europe (primarily the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but also in Poland and Hungary). It is expanding in the West (it already operates in the UK, France and Germany). The company claims 2.5 million domain names under management and over 3 million websites hosted. “Yes the racing team is expensive,” says 38-year old Cecconi who founded the family-run business when he was 18 as an ISP and then had the foresight to switch focus to web content services in 2000. “But what we get back in visibility and brand recognition is immense. To get the same results through advertising would have cost us much more.”

Although a self-confessed bike fanatic, Cecconi refutes the notion that his company’s involvement with Ducati is the result of a CEO whim. “We thought about doing PR through sponsorship almost from day 1,” he explains. “Once we had the budget to actually make it happen, we started looking at football. We sponsored the national league in Italy, but we really wanted to reach a more international audience. So we looked for the best place to do this.”

The World Superbike championship wasn’t the obvious choice. In the world of bike racing, the premier league is the MotoGP series. But just like Formula 1 car racing, the number of teams in MotoGP is capped, meaning that Aruba would’ve had to settle for being a secondary sponsor. “We’ve always liked to execute our projects ourselves,” says Cecconi. “That’s what we did when we built our own datacenters for example. So we wanted our own team, whatever the sport.”

Putting the cloud first

Then Aruba started talking to Ducati, and to his surprise, the factory were interested in more than just a sponsor, they wanted a partner. “A unique opportunity to run a team jointly with Ducati, an extremely powerful brand in Italy,” beams Cecconi.

Also, a way to display the company’s strong focus on cloud services.

The Aruba bikes show two of the company’s brands: its own name of course, and DotCloud. Aruba acquired the new gTLD in a private auction for an estimated $12 million. Here again, the rationale for paying so much would be lost on some, but Cecconi seems to have found a way to make it work.

A year after launch, it has over 105,000 domains under management. “Just like the Ducati sponsorship deal, DotCloud was a huge bet for us,” admits Cecconi. “And just like our Superbike venture, this TLD is a reflection of our passion. The cloud is what our company’s about. It’s what’s driving where we want to be.”

So from the get-go, Aruba made a conscious choice to go for that TLD, and only that one. When ICANN announced the round 1 applicants in 2012, Aruba found itself facing stiff competition. There were 6 other applicants for DotCloud, and some of them were quite daunting. Names like Google, Amazon and Symantec should have been enough to put Aruba off. “But for us, DotCloud was the only focus. Many of the people we were up against had other new gTLD interests as well. So perhaps we just wanted it more than everyone else…”

Once it had the TLD, Aruba took it to market with the same no-discount approach that brought it to motorsports sponsorship rather than betting on price reductions for the services it offers. “We didn’t want to go low-cost like XYZ for example,” says the CEO. “The name has value, so we adopted a standard-pricing model.”

Synergies

Here again, Cecconi’s approach is to piggy-back on its sponsorship strategy to develop Aruba’s business lines, such as DotCloud. Registrar partners and potential large B2B clients get invited to races and can revel in the luxury of Aruba’s sprawling 2-trailer hospitality whilst watching some of the best bike racing on the planet.

Aruba’s numbers say this strategy of building bridges between the company’s traditional business and its sponsorship is working.

Cecconi won’t be drawn on exact figures and as Aruba is privately owned, the actual cost of putting the company’s name next to Ducati’s can’t be verified, but it’s clearly reaping the kind of benefits Cecconi is looking for.

“We started the Aruba Racing Team in 2015,” he smiles. “So we’re now in our third season, and we’ve just inked a new deal with Ducati for 3 more years…”

Written by Stéphane Van Gelder, Consultant

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More under: Cloud Computing, Top-Level Domains

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Several New TLDs in Limbo as ICANN Conducts Investigation

A number of new gTLD applicants, including .gay and .music are criticizing ICANN for conducting an investigation into its own controversial practices. Kevin Murphy reporting in Domain Incite writes: “Seven proposed new gTLDs, including the much-anticipated .music and .gay, are currently trapped in ICANN red tape hell as the organization conducts a secretive probe into how its own staff handled Community Priority Evaluations. The now broad-ranging investigation seems to have been going on for over six months but does not appear to have a set deadline for completion. Applicants affected by the delays don’t know who is conducting the probe, and say they have not been contacted by anyone for their input.”

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Oh, Those Wild and Crazy New TLDs

Among the many issues affecting ICANN’s thousand new TLDs is collisions, that is, the same name already used elsewhere. The other uses are non-standard and unofficial, but some names turn out to have been used a lot. One approach to see how bad the collisions are is controlled interruption, in which the TLD publishes wildcard records with obvious impossible values, in the hope that systems that use colliding names see them and do something about it.

The process is pretty simple. For 90 days the domain publishes records like these currently in the new .hotels TLD:

hotels. 3600 in a 127.0.53.53

hotels. 3600 in mx 10 your-dns-needs-immediate-attention.hotels.

hotels. 3600 in txt "Your DNS configuration needs immediate attention see https://icann.org/namecollision"

hotels. 3600 in srv 10 10 0 your-dns-needs-immediate-attention.hotels.

*.hotels. 3600 in a 127.0.53.53

*.hotels. 3600 in mx 10 your-dns-needs-immediate-attention.hotels.

*.hotels. 3600 in txt "Your DNS configuration needs immediate attention see https://icann.org/namecollision"

*.hotels. 3600 in srv 10 10 0 your-dns-needs-immediate-attention.hotels.

When the 90 days are up, the domain takes out the interruption records, and starts putting in real ones. That’s the theory, and what the ICANN registry agreements require. The practice turns out to be different.

A surprising number of domains just forgot to take out the interruption records, so the wildcards are there along with the real registered names. There are still wildcards in .STORE, .XN–P1ACF (.рус), .XN–HXT814E (.网店), .XN–3DS443G (.在线), .XN–FIQ228C5HS (.中文网), .XN–45Q11C (.八卦), .FUN, and .FIRMDALE, all along with delegated real domains.

For some reason, a few domains expanded the collision wildcards to large numbers of specific names. The .XN–55QX5D (.公司) zone has SRV, MX, and TXT records for about 14,000 plausible looking domain names, like 101trader.xn--55qx5d and alibaba.xn--55qx5d, along with the delegated names. Similarly the .XN–IO0A7I (.网络) zone has about 10,000 sets of SRV, MX, and TXT, again plausible looking names like poker.xn--io0a7i and memory.xn--io0a7i. I have no idea where the sets of names came from, or why someone would do that.

There are also many TLDs that have had wildcards for a lot longer than 90 days but don’t have anything else. For example, .CREDITUNION was delegated in late 2015 but still has nothing but a few required records and the controlled interruption records.

While these wildcards and other extra SRV, TXT, and MX records in TLD zone files are largely harmless, it is rather odd that they’ve been there for a year or more and nobody noticed until now. It’s not like they’re hard to find — once I heard that one zone had them, it took under an hour to run a one line script over downloaded zone files and find the rest of them. Even though ICANN does a lot of automated scanning of gTLDs, it apparently didn’t occur to them to look for forbidden records in the zone files. (In fairness, it didn’t occur to me either.)

Running a registry is apparently harder than it looks, but fortunately, so few people care about new TLDs that mistakes don’t matter.

Written by John Levine, Author, Consultant & Speaker

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Dot-Com is Still King – of Domain Name Disputes

Despite the launch of more than 1,200 new gTLDs, .com remains far and away the most popular top-level domain involved in domain name disputes.

In 2016, .com domain names represented 66.82 percent of all gTLD disputes at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the only domain name dispute provider that publishes real-time statistics. And, as of this writing, the rate is even higher so far in 2017, with .com domain names accounting for 69.78 percent of all disputes.

Not surprisingly, the overall trend since the launch of the new gTLDs shows .com appearing in a smaller percentage of cases under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). For example, in 2012, when the new gTLD applications were unveiled, .com domain names represented 74.84 percent of all gTLD disputes at WIPO.

Of course, some new gTLDs are appearing in UDRP cases, with 13 new gTLDs represented in 10 or more UDRP cases at WIPO in 2016:

  • .xyz
  • .top
  • .club
  • .online
  • .vip
  • .store
  • .website
  • .cloud
  • .site
  • .space
  • .shop
  • .lol
  • .date

But, the discrepancy between .com disputes and others is tremendous (as the chart above shows): WIPO saw 3,120 .com domain names in dispute proceedings last year, but the most-commonly disputed new gTLD — .xyz — appeared only 321 times.

As I’ve written before, the large number of new gTLDs probably contributed to a record number of UDRP disputes in 2016. But it’s clear that new gTLDs are accounting for relatively few disputes.

Trying to understand why new gTLDs don’t appear in more UDRP proceedings is pure speculation, though a couple of explanations seem reasonable:

  • New gTLD registrations account for a small percentage of all domain names. While there were 329.3 million total domain name registrations (with .com accounting for 126.9 million of those) as of the end of 2016, there are currently fewer than 29 million new gTLD registrations. Therefore, there is simply a relatively small number of gTLD registrations that could be subject to a dispute.
  • Trademark owners care more about .com domain name registrations and how they are being used. While new gTLDs are bothersome to many trademark owners, their limited appeal makes them less important to dispute.

Written by Doug Isenberg, Attorney & Founder of The GigaLaw Firm

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