Washington DC
01 June 2015
Reporter: Tammy Facey

New gTLD RPMs .suck, says FTC


The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) should consider revising its rights protection mechanisms in the new gTLD programme, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Edith Ramirez, chair of the FTC, wrote in a letter to ICANN on 27 May that the commission will consider ways in which it can address the concerns about the .sucks TLD.

ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey wrote to the FTC and Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) on 9 April, asking the agencies to launch investigations into .sucks operator Vox Populi Registry, after receiving complaints from brands.

Ramirez said the FTC will “take action” against Vox Populi if “we have reason to believe an entity has engaged in deceptive or unfair practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act”.

But ICANN needs to address the “potential” for consumer confusion over new gTLDs, she wrote in her letter. The public may not be able to discern the real owner behind a .sucks site.

“I hope ICANN will encourage all gTLD holders to identify themselves on their websites so that people do not confused an activist with a company site.”

Ramirez also questioned whether the Trademark Clearinghouse is a suitable rights protection mechanism.

“It may be very well that stronger rights protection mechanisms are needed to ensure that IP rights holders are adequately protected,” she said.

She also suggested ICANN yield to the Governmental Advisory Committee’s approach to verifying the credentials of owners of sensitive domains.

The GAC wants Whois information to be verified before a new gTLD name is sold.

But ICANN adopted a far less stringent requirement, instead requiring that owners represent that they possess the appropriate credentials.

She said: “This more lax approach increases the risk of consumer fraud because bad actors will not hesitate to make false representations about their credentials.”

“I encourage ICANN to reconsider implementing the important safeguards recommended by the GAC in this area.”

More news
The latest news from IPPro The Internet
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
APLA and French police take down piracy site
14 December 2017 | Bordeaux | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A joint operation between French police and the ALPA has resulted in the closure of piracy streaming website, artv.watch
IPC3 investigated 1,400 suspects in 2017
13 December 2017 | The Hague | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Europol investigated nearly 1,400 suspects and was involved in 36 major intellectual property crime cases in 2017 as part of its Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition
Quarles & Brady hires internet of things expert
12 December 2017 | Milwaukee | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Quarles & Brady has hired Linda Emery as partner in its intellectual property practice group based in Milwaukee
Siemens reclaims infringing domains
11 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Siemens has been transferred seven infringing domain names following a World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre dispute
PSNI, HMRC and FACT seize 50 illegal streaming devices
08 December 2017 | Belfast | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A joint operation between UK enforcement bodies has resulted in the seizure of 50 illegal streaming devices
China world’s top trademark filer in 2016
07 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
China was the world’s top trademark filer in 2016, with the country accounting for 3.7 million applications out of an estimated global total of 7 million
Marlboro beats infringer in UDRP dispute
07 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Marlboro has acquired seven infringing domain names in a dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre.