ICANN Debates New Domains on the Web

by Peter Eduardo Siemsen

June 01, 2009


In June of 2009, Sydney, Australia hosted the 35th meeting of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The organ is responsible for distributing "Internet Protocol" (IP) numbers throughout the world and for monitoring the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) and country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) Domain Name Systems (DNS), and is also involved in the central administration of the network of servers. ICANN also supervises registration of domains worldwide.

The objective of the event was to address new gTDL extensions, for example ".com," ".net." Currently there is a limited number of gTLDs, but ICANN plans to authorize the creation of many more gTLDs beginning in the first half of 2010. Discussion is in advanced stages regarding implementation of a global extension of a trademark. In this regard, instead of ".com," ".br" and other generic extensions, registration owners will be able to buy the right to use their trademark as a top-level domain, for example ".pepsi" or ".apple."

Before the new extensions are made available to the international market, there are a number of points to be discussed and analyzed. In addition to economic issues and questions regarding security and stability of the network, protection of intellectual property deserves special attention.

The decision to introduce the new top-level domain names followed a long, detailed process of consulting with representatives from all sectors of the Internet worldwide, including: governing authorities, civil society, the technological community and intellectual property experts.

In early 2009 the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) was formed to draw up the proposal, officially called the Draft Applicant Guidebook (DAG), concerning the new gTLDs. The Team released its report in May of this year, proposing automatic protection for global trademarks in top-level domains. The global trademarks would be added to a list managed by ICANN called the Globally Protected Marks List (GPML). This list would allow globally protected marks to be advised when an application is filed for a top-level extension using their trademark, and these applications would be automatically blocked.

However, some points of the IRT proposal received criticism at the 35th ICANN meeting. One such criticism was that the IRT may be giving ICANN jurisdiction that could overlap national and international intellectual property protection laws. Another criticism was that the proposal exaggerated the scope of ICANN’s functions, giving it a role (trademark protection) that it should not have.

There are still critical issues to be debated before consensus is reached among the interested groups. This consensus is considered an obstacle, as the interests of each group are normally quite conflicting. Nevertheless, it was considered certain that registration of the new top-level extensions will begin in the first half of 2010.

For complete reporting on ICANN 35 and the Draft Applicant Guidebook, visit the ICANN website at

The next ICANN meeting, the 36th, is scheduled for October of 2009, in Seoul. Until then, our firm’s Domain Names Department will monitor discussion concerning the new domain name extensions and keep clients informed regarding developments.

If you would like to receive updates concerning "new top-level domain names", please send an e-mail to Please contact us at the same address with any doubts you may have.


Peter Eduardo Siemsen

Advogado, Agente da Propriedade Industrial

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