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Knowledge and ideas are key resources in the global economy. The protection of knowledge and ideas, through IPR, has become one of the predominant issues in the Internet governance debate, and has a strong development-oriented component. Internet-related IPR include copyright, trademarks, and patents.

Trademarks are relevant to the Internet because of the registration of domain names. In the early phase of Internet development, the registration of domain names was based on a first come, first served basis. This led to cybersquatting, the practice of registering names of companies and selling them later at a higher price.


Mechanisms for the protection of trademarks


This situation compelled the business sector to place the question of the protection of trademarks at the centre of the reform of Internet governance, leading to the establishment of ICANN in 1998. In the White Paper on the creation of ICANN, the US government demanded that ICANN develop and implement a mechanism for the protection of trademarks in the field of domain names. Soon after its formation, ICANN introduced the WIPO‑developed Universal Dispute Resolution Procedure (UDRP).

The recent introduction of the new gTLDs reinvigorated the relevance of trademark for domain names, ICANN, and overall IG.

ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) authenticates information from rights holders and provides this information to registries and registrars.

The UDRP - the primary dispute resolution procedure - is stipulated in advance as a dispute resolution mechanism in all contracts involving the registration of gTLDs (e.g. .com, .edu, .org, .net), and for some ccTLDs. Its arbitration awards are applied directly through changes in the DNS without resorting to enforcement of trademark protection through national courts.

Latest Updates on this Issue - Read More on the Topic

US Supreme court rules in favor of freedom of expression

The US Supreme Court has invalidated a law banning scandalous trademarks as going against the US Constitution’s First Amendment protecting the right to freedom of expression. The decision overturned a lower court decision that banned the use of the trademark 'Fuct' (for 'Friends U Can't Trust', according to the designer).

FCC announced enforcement efforts again illegal set top boxes and devices

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made an announcement on its website for set top box manufacturers and sellers, that all set top boxes which are not in accordance with FCC rules could face six figure fines.

U.S. Government adopted ‘Memorandum on combating trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods’.

In its efforts to efficiently fight infringements of intellectual property rights (IPR), the US government has adopted a ‘Memorandum on combating trafficking in counterfeit and pirated goods’.

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