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Trademark turmoil as Amazon doesn’t get its own way

The first major dispute in the new battleground of expanded top level domains appears to gone against the Internet retailer Amazon after the Internet Corporation for the Assignment of Names and Number’s (ICANN)’s own Governmental Advisory Council (GAC) agreed this week that its application for their own top level domain .amazon should be rejected.

As explained in a previous Tech Law post the addressing system that the Internet relies on is undergoing a major expansion of what are known as generic top level domains (gTLDs). These are the .com, .net, and .orgs that come at the end of a unique domain name like “amazon” or “google”. Now companies can buy and control generic words like .books and .music and then rent out new domain names as each new address will be an unique address like www.harrypotter.books. The countries Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile all objected to the GAC to reject the application on the grounds that .amazon was a place name and should be protected as geographical name that deserves cultural protection. Amazon had applied for 76 TLDs and several generic names. Earlier this year, clothing company Patagonia withdrew its application after a battle with the country of Argentina. Peru’s GAC representative said it is “striking that there is a prior search on trademarks during the sunrise period, but there is no list or no searching mechanisms for geographic names.” Without any objecting to the proposal, the GAC will now send “consensus advice” to reject the application for the top level domain .amazon. As no country attending objected to the proposal, the GAC now will send “consensus advice” to the ICANN Board to reject .amazon and various non-latin script versions of it. ICANN operates on a multi-stakeholder form of governance where each constituent with a claim to have a stake is allowed a claim in its governance. This is said to provide any one entity from dominating Internet governance. According to rules jointly established by GAC and the ICANN Board, “if GAC Advice is based on a consensus of the GAC, it will create a strong presumption that the application should not be approved. If the ICANN Board does not act in accordance with this type of advice, it must provide rationale for doing so.”However, ICANN has approved four applications this week during its annual session in Durban, South Africa. شبكة, the Arabic word for “web” or “network”, the Russian words for “online” and “network” alongside the Chinese word for “game” will be some of the first new top-level domains ready to go live after getting the go-ahead from ICANN.