On July 7, 2015, INTA submitted comments on the Initial Report published by the ICANN Policy Development Process Working Group (“WG”) on issues relating to the accreditation of privacy and proxy service providers.
INTA favors mechanisms that strike a balance between privacy concerns and the mitigation of risk to consumers who may be harmed by confusion caused by cybersquatting, counterfeiting and other forms of abuse.
Privacy services and proxy services (P/P services) have a purpose that is the opposite of that of trademarks. Trademarks are source identifiers, whereas P/P services are source concealers—they are used to hide who or what is behind a domain name. Consumers are at risk when surfing on websites using P/P services because these services decrease a consumer’s ability to not only identify a seller but also to then attribute fault to a single source if that consumer is harmed. In addition, masking the source of a domain increases the cost of enforcement for trademark rights holders when infringement occurs.
INTA believes the standards of P/P service providers should include limiting the use of these services to special circumstances that absolutely do not involve online financial interactions. This will allow the open exchange of ideas without infringing upon IP rights holders. Though economic reprisal or official retaliation might occur in very specific instances, INTA’s position promotes freedom of expression in general.
ICANN should implement mechanisms that mitigate rights and support trademark rights enforcement in P/P service domains.
Please find the full submission here.