Spring 2019 Internet Advocacy—The Cherry Blossoms Have Arrived!

Published: May 15, 2019

The connection between cherry blossoms and Internet advocacy might seem unclear at first glance. But INTA’s advocacy efforts have been blooming in both Asia and Washington, D.C., during the spring of 2019.

INTA’s Strategic Plan includes a new focus on Internet policy in China, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific region in general. INTA members from this region have expressed deep interest in learning more about global Internet governance trends and engaging in the ongoing dialogue regarding Internet policies that affect their practice.


INTA and the Japan Trademark Association (JTA) hosted a roundtable on March 18 that featured updates from the ICANN64 Public Meeting in Kobe, Japan. Japanese trademark practitioners learned about ICANN’s policy-making process and the status of the Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) on WHOIS, Rights Protection Mechanism Review, and the negotiations around Subsequent Procedures for New Rounds of New gTLD Applications (SubPro). INTA’s Senior Director for Internet Policy Lori Schulman moderated the panel, which included Michael Flemming (GMO Brights Consulting, Japan), Susan Payne (Valideus, UK), and Diane Plaut (Corsearch, USA).

Prior to the JTA event, INTA met with Japanese government officials from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Japan Patent Office at METI’s offices to consider recent ICANN proceedings, highlight INTA concerns regarding Internet policy, and to discuss such topics as non-use cancellation issues and well-known marks. Officials agreed to keep the dialogue open on matters of mutual interest. INTA representatives included INTA Chief Representative Asia-Pacific Seth Hays, Shunji Sato (TMI Associates, Japan, and former INTA Board member), and Ms. Schulman.


Continuing efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, INTA representatives met with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and its affiliated think tank China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) in Beijing, China, on March 20. The discussion centered on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) repercussions to the WHOIS database and potential impact on brand owners.

Also on the agenda were the latest updates to China’s domain name policy, including Internet content provider (ICP) licensing and recordal regulations following the Measures of Domain Name Administration, effective as of November 2017.

MIIT and CAICT hold extremely important roles in developing China’s policy on domain names and the Internet as a whole, and this was the first meeting of its kind for INTA. The meeting included Mr. Hays; Vicky Dei, INTA Assistant, Shanghai Representative Office, China Office; Monica Su, INTA Representative Officer, Shanghai, China Office; and Alban Kwan (CSC, Hong Kong).

Mr. Hays shared INTA’s role in the domain name and Internet policy space to encourage the guests to join INTA’s efforts at ICANN. Ms. Su gave an overview of the Association’s outreach events that will take place at the 2019 Annual Meeting, May 18‒22, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, including policy dialogues and education roundtables, to help strengthen engagement with Chinese government authorities and members-
and anticipated participation in the 2020 Annual Meeting in Singapore.

After productive conversations with Chinese officials, INTA continued the dialogue with Chinese Internet companies, including their senior IP counsels from JD, Baidu, Sina, and Metaun. Mr. Kwan moderated the discussion, encouraging active participation in Internet policy affairs and emphasizing that joint advocacy efforts with INTA would enhance representation with the Chinese government authorities.

The common interests of several Chinese Internet companies prompted them to form an informal WeChat group, which will be developed into an INTA Industry Group in the near future. This will help in promoting ongoing engagement with global and regional Internet policy development.

INTA’s meetings in China and Japan are the first steps in INTA’s efforts to create a long-term “Digital Asia” Internet policy strategy.

Washington, D.C.

As the cherry blossoms bloomed in Asia, the blossoms in Washington, D.C., had reached their peak, and the U.S. government continued formulating responses to the European Union’s recent regulations in the areas of intellectual property (IP) and privacy.

Both the Copyright Directive and the implementation of GDPR have created opportunities and challenges for U.S. companies. On May 6, INTA spoke on behalf of brand owners at a roundtable held by the Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator on this topic. Major Internet platforms, trade associations, and civil society organizations shared their points of view and agreed to work on points where U.S industry may find common agreement in ongoing negotiations with the EU.

While views varied regarding the Copyright Directive, there was near universal agreement that GDPR engenders ongoing challenges for U.S. businesses-both large and small-especially in the area of ICANN’s decision to mask WHOIS data for EU and non-EU registrants alike.

U.S. government officials participating in the roundtable included the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, representatives from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, representatives from the National Telecommunications and Information Agency, representatives from the Department of Justice, and several staff members from Capitol Hill.

Through these activities, and many more, INTA continues its work to form a more cohesive, global view when it comes to advocating for sensible and balanced policies that respect IP rights in the domain name system and beyond.

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.

© 2019 International Trademark Association