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August 15, 2018 Vol. 73 No. 14 Back to Bulletin Main Page

INTA Members Advocate for Trademarks at ICANN 62


Internet policy issues continue to be front and center for brand owners around the world. The implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had a deep impact on the operation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN’s) WHOIS registration directory service. INTA’s advocacy efforts have been focused on ensuring that trademark owners continue to have access to vital information for business transactions and enforcement purposes.

INTA members were out in full force at ICANN 62, which was held in Panama City, Panama, in June. The meeting was dominated by discussions around the charter for ICANN’s first Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) to address a permanent solution to ICANN’s coordination of the WHOIS system. INTA’s Internet Committee Chair, Paul McGrady (Winston & Strawn, USA), in his capacity as the Intellectual Property Constituency’s (IPC’s) representative to the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), successfully negotiated for inclusion of critical questions regarding access to WHOIS data for legitimate purposes into the scope of the EPDP charter.

INTA member Brian Winterfeldt (Winterfeldt Intellectual Property Group, USA), in his capacity as IPC President, moderated a public discussion on “Post GDPR and Next Steps,” which included panelists from government, the private sector, and civil society, and domain industry experts.

In addition to the ICANN EPDP, access and accreditation issues are being addressed by intellectual property and business concerns through the development of a proposal for an Access and Accreditation Model, to be implemented in conjunction with ICANN’s Temporary Specification on WHOIS. The Temporary Specification has essentially closed off access to WHOIS information, leaving trademark owners without reliable means to contact the owners of domain registrations or to properly identify who they are. Providing access for legitimate purposes is a key policy objective for INTA.

ICANN itself has asked for feedback on its “Unified Access Model,” which is a discussion paper that is open to comment from the community at large. Internet and Data Protection Committee members are working inside the ICANN process to ensure that trademark owners’ voices are heard. INTA is implementing strategies outside of ICANN to influence policy makers regarding implementation of the GDPR. INTA has prepared guidelines for working within the new WHOIS framework and they can be accessed at WHOIS Toolkit.

INTA members and others may report any problems with gaining access to information for domain registrations to WHOISchallenges@inta.org.

INTA Sponsors 2018 Internet Governance Forum USA Conference in Washington, D.C.
INTA was pleased to sponsor the 2018 Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA) on July 27 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. The day focused on Internet policy issues across a broad spectrum of interests, including workforce readiness, privacy, content, connectivity, and the role of courts in policy development.

Keynote speakers included Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and National Telecommunications and Information Administration Administrator at the U.S. Department of Commerce, David Redl, and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner, Noah J. Phillips.

Mr. Redl focused on the importance of balancing prosperity with privacy. The information economy has tremendous benefits and pitfalls. Finding the correct balance is a challenge that faces all sectors and finds its focal point in Internet policy.

The highlight of the day was the closing panel, which addressed the topic titled “Should the U.S. Opt In to Europe’s Privacy Regime?” moderated by Steve DelBianco, President of NetChoice, a trade association of e-commerce businesses and online consumers, all of whom share the goal of promoting convenience, choice, and commerce on the Internet. The debate featured many of the questions that INTA members face as they find ways to increase their brand value and customer experience across a variety of media.

IGF-USA is part of a global program of regional IGF meetings that inform the agenda of the global IGF program, which is sponsored by the United Nations. INTA is engaged at the IGF at the global level and is a sponsor of IGF-USA. INTA encourages its members to find their local IGF meetings and participate in critical issues of Internet policy.

For more information about INTA’s Internet policies, please contact Lori Schulman, Senior Director, Internet Policy at lschulman@inta.org.


Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. Law & Practice updates are published without comment from INTA except where it has taken an official position.

© 2018 International Trademark Association