ICANN Contractual Compliance Updates WHOIS Complaint Submissions Platform

Published: April 15, 2020

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced it is designating a new form to be used to submit complaints regarding WHOIS data requests. INTA and its members have been tirelessly advocating for reforms to the registration data directory services under ICANN, known as WHOIS.

While negotiations have been difficult, INTA is encouraged by the fact that ICANN has announced new forms. The forms will be used to inform ICANN of registries and registrars who are not responding to legitimate requests for domain registration data for the purposes of intellectual property enforcement.

This is the first step ICANN has taken this year in what is planned to be a revamp to its website for complaint submissions. An explanation of the new form can be found near the top of ICANN’s Contractual Compliance Complaints page here.

INTA recommends that trademark practitioners and brand owners first submit a request to a registry or registrar to access domain registration data. Then, if the registry or registrar does not respond or grant access, a contractual compliance complaint regarding WHOIS data requests can be submitted via this form to ICANN. ICANN is responsible for worldwide domain name enforcement through its contracts with registries and registrars. This is a positive development to help rights owners since General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) came into effect in May 2018.

INTA encourages its members to use this form and to share your experiences with Lori Schulman at [email protected].

For more information on navigating the new WHOIS landscape, please see INTA’s WHOIS Challenges: A Toolkit for Intellectual Property Professionals. Created by INTA volunteers, this is a valuable tool for guidance on how to gain access to important domain registration information that has been redacted under ICANN’s Temporary Specification in response to the implementation of the GDPR in the European Union. Additionally, INTA members are encouraged to read ICANN’s new guidance regarding the new form submissions.

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.

© 2020 International Trademark Association