SIIA: More trademark protections needed in ICANN gTLD program

The trade group calls on ICANN to make changes to the program as problems show up in applications

As the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers moves forward, despite ongoing concerns, with its decision to launch a program to sell new generic top-level domains, the organization should take new steps to protect trademarks and other intellectual property, a U.S. software trade group said Thursday.

ICANN should react to problems it sees developing as applications come in for new gTLDs, said the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), a trade group that has questioned the need for a new gTLD program.

ICANN needs to make "an adjustment" if it sees trademark and other problems during the three-month application period for new gTLDs, said Scott Bain, SIAA's chief litigation counsel. "Once you see specific applications coming in, you're going to have a specific idea of where the problem areas are, and where the potential abuse might be."

ICANN launched the new gTLD program late Wednesday EST, even with several groups saying the organization has not done enough to protect trademarks in what could be an addition of several hundred new TLDs. The new program will allow new TLDs such as .hotel or .bank, as well as gTLDs in non-Latin characters, in addition to the current 18 gTLDs, such as .com and .info.

Trademark owners have worried that they will have to defensively register hundreds or thousands of new domain names using their trademarks, with potentially hundreds of new gTLDs coming online. "Ideally, this shouldn't have gone forward in the first place," Bain said, adding that now that the gTLD program is in place, ICANN can make adjustments that help ease concerns.

After the gTLD application deadline in mid-April, ICANN will publish the list of applications and open a 60-day comment period. That public comment period needs to be "meaningful," with ICANN open to making changes to the gTLD program based on comments, Bain said. In some past ICANN programs, comment periods ended "shortly before deadlines for action by ICANN," he said.

In addition, SIIA called on ICANN to look for new ways to protect copyright owners when they see subdomains -- for example, or -- used to infringe intellectual property.

"We're going to want some mechanisms in place to ensure it's not abused," Bain said. "When you have a gTLD that is obviously directed at a particular industry or category, there should be some assurance that it's going to be used only for licensed or authorized purposes."

ICANN also needs to ramp up its staffing to investigate and respond to complaints of trademark and other abuse in the new TLDs, Bain said. The organization has a small staff that now investigates problems with TLDs, and the problems are likely to grow significantly with the introduction of hundreds of new TLDs, he said.

An ICANN spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comments on the SIIA recommendations, but ICANN officials in recent days have said the organization has put several trademark protections in place, including a global clearinghouse that allows trademark owners to alert ICANN and domain applicants of their intellectual property. For the first time, ICANN has also reserved the right to take back TLDs from owners who aren't operating the domains in the public interest, ICANN officials have said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?