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Iranian org not happy about .eco bids

Kevin Murphy, February 20, 2013, 10:20:24 (UTC), Domain Policy

The Iran-based treaty organization ECO, the Economic Cooperative Organization, has registered its displeasure with ICANN that several companies have applied for .eco as a gTLD.

ECO is a multinational IGO focused on development formed by Iran, Pakistan and Turkey in 1985. It has seven other Asian and Eurasian member states.

In a letter to ICANN brass this week, the organization said it “expresses its disapproval and non-endorsement to all the applications for .ECO gTLD and requests the ICANN and the new gTLD application evaluators to not approve these applications.”

.eco has been proposed as a gTLD for environmental causes by four companies. It was one of the first new gTLD ideas to emerge, several years ago, and was once backed by Al Gore.

Under changes to the application rules currently under development at ICANN, ECO may enjoy a second-level ban on the string “eco”, possibly only temporarily, under all new gTLDs.

The criteria for this IGO name protection is expected to be based on the criteria for registering a .int domain name, which are reserved for certain categories of international treaty organizations.

Unless ICANN really pulls the rug out from under applicants, the protection would not extend to the top-level in the current application round, however.

ECO notes in its letter that as it qualifies for a .int, it should be protected.

However, eco.int is not registered and ECO uses a .org domain for its web site, begging the question of how seriously it takes its domain name brand protection strategy.

Read ECO’s letter here.

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Comments (5)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    ECO has standing to object to .ECO TLD as an IGO. But it needs to file an objection, not just write a letter. Talk is cheap.

    It could use ICANN’s own funding for that, but with a lot of EWs from Iran, it’s probably a fierce competition to chose one to use the funding.

  2. Jacob says:

    Big Room’s .ECO application is community-based. It has the support and engagement of the world’s leading international environmental NGOs and networks, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), WWF International, Greenpeace International, 350.org, TckTckTck, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and many others from around the world.

    An independent non-profit organization has been set up to safeguard the environmental community’s interests vis-a-vis .ECO. The details of this structure and of the environmental community’s support for .ECO available at http://www.doteco.org.

    Together, we are committed to creating a .ECO that is by the environmental community, for the greater good.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      That’s fine for community priority evaluation panel, but for the legal right objection:

      3.2.2.2 Legal Rights Objection
      A rightsholder has standing to file a legal rights objection. The source and documentation of the existing legal rights the objector is claiming (which may include either registered or unregistered trademarks) are infringed by the applied-for gTLD must be included in the filing.
      An intergovernmental organization (IGO) is eligible to file a legal rights objection if it meets the criteria for registration of a .INT domain name1:
      a) An international treaty between or among national governments must have established the organization; and
      b) The organization that is established must be widely considered to have independent international legal personality and must be the subject of and governed by international law.
      The specialized agencies of the UN and the organizations having observer status at the UN General Assembly are also recognized as meeting the criteria.

      In the case where a legal rights objection has been filed by an IGO, the panel will consider the following non-exclusive factors:
      1. Whether the applied-for gTLD is identical or similar, including in appearance, phonetic sound or meaning, to the name or acronym of the objecting IGO;
      2. Historical coexistence of the IGO and the applicant’s use of a similar name or acronym. Factors considered may include:
      a. Level of global recognition of both entities;
      b. Length of time the entities have been in existence;
      c. Public historical evidence of their existence, which may include whether the objecting IGO has communicated its name or abbreviation under Article 6ter of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
      3. Whether and to what extent the applicant has used, or has made demonstrable preparations to use, the sign corresponding to the TLD in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services or a bona fide provision of information in a way that does not interfere with the legitimate exercise of the objecting IGO’s name or acronym;
      4. Whether and to what extent the applicant has been commonly known by the sign corresponding to the applied-for gTLD, and if so, whether any purported or likely use of the gTLD by the applicant is consistent therewith and bona fide; and
      5. Whether the applicant’s intended use of the applied- for gTLD would create a likelihood of confusion with the objecting IGO’s name or acronym as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or endorsement of the TLD.


      1. Check: String is identical
      2. Check: Applicant has no prior use of ECO as a product or service
      2a. Check:
      2b. Check: The ECO IGO exists since 1985, long before Big Room or new gTLDs for that matter
      2c. Don’t know if ECO has communicated or not to qualify
      3. Don’t know if Big Room has considered or mentioned the ECO IGO in its application. Probably not.
      4. Check: Big Room can argue been a .ECO applicant, not a .ECO registry
      5. Don’t know what confusion could arise in the ECO member countries. It could be more than what us westerns think. What ECO means to use, might not be what it means no Iranians, Pakistanis etc.

      My take: if the ECO IGO gets a good UDRP lawyer, .ECO is toast.

      • Jacob says:

        The community section of our application contains a summary of the relationship between ECO and the environmental community.

        It is available for review here: http://doteco.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Dot-Eco-Big-Room-Community-Section.pdf

        • Rubens Kuhl says:

          What I’ve pointed out is that ECO the IGO is not mentioned at the .ECO application, so that is check for condition 3.

          And your document gave me a “check” for condition 5 as well:

          “Relevant not-for-profit environmental organizations (ie, accredited by relevant
          United Nations (UN) bodies; International Union for Conservation of Nature
          (IUCN) member; proof of not-for-profit legal entity status with documented
          environmental mission). ”

          That means that other IGOs could get .ECO domains, which could cause confusion among IGOs (think ECO.UNDP, for instance).

          So, only question 2c of the guidebook remains as doubtful whether ECO the IGO can make a successful objection against .ECO.

          Risk factor of losing an LRO objection: 99%.

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