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Trademarks

Updates

6 Sep 2016

G20 leaders convened for their annual summit on 4-5 September, in Hangzhou, China. The communique released at the end of the summit, as well as the adopted Blueprint on Innovative Growth, emphasise the role of the digital economy and the new industrial revolution (characterised by emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and virtual reality) as main contributors to a sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth and development. In order to encourage sustainable progress in these two areas, G20 commits to a series of policies and actions covering several digital policy issues: bridging the digital divide; leveraging the opportunities and coping with the challenges brought by emerging technologies; fostering favourable conditions for achieving trust and security in the digital environment, while ensuring respect for privacy and personal data protection; protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights; improving training and skills for science, technology and innovation. For more details, read Diplo's blog post.

17 Jun 2016

Space Data Corporation has accused Google's Project Loon to infringe on their patents. Project Loon aims to disseminate Wifi access by using balloons and has started its testing phase in Sri Lanka this year. According to Space Data, Google uses confidential information and trade secrets as the basis of the project, which were discussed between the two parties almost ten years ago. Space Data's patents on 'balloon-network connectivity' originate from 1999 and 2001, long before the development of Project Loon.

28 Apr 2016

The Office of the United States Trade Representative has released its annual Special 301 Report, which summarises the state of intellectual property rights (IPR) protection in US trading partners. The report includes a 'Priority Watch List' and a 'Watch List', which consists of countries with poor IPR protection and enforcement. For the first time, Switzerland is included in the Watch List due to poor records related to online copyrights and trademark protection in ccTLDs. The report notes that Switzerland 'has become an increasingly popular host country for infringing websites,' addressing a concern that was previously mentioned the 2015 Notorious Market List.

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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.

Events

Resources

Publications

Internet Governance Acronym Glossary (2015)
An Introduction to Internet Governance (2014)

Papers

Competition in the Software Industry: the Interface between Antitrust and Intellectual Property Law (1999)

Reports

2016 Special 301 Report (2016)
Report of the Director General to the WIPO Assemblies (2015)

GIP event reports

ICANN58: GNSO-GAC Facilitated Dialogue on IGO & Red Cross Protections (Session 2) (2017)

Processes

Sessions at IGF 2016

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