ICANN has killed off Amazon’s application for the new gTLD .amazon, based on longstanding but extremely controversial advice from its Governmental Advisory Committee.
According to a New gTLD Program Committee resolution passed on Wednesday and published last night, the applications for .amazon and Chinese and Japanese translations “should not proceed”.
That basically means all three applications are frozen until Amazon withdraws them, wins some kind of appeal, manages to change the GAC’s mind, or successfully sues.
Here’s the last bit of the resolution:
Resolved (2014.05.14.NG03), the NGPC accepts the GAC advice identified in the GAC Register of Advice as 2013-07-18-Obj-Amazon, and directs the President and CEO, or his designee, that the applications for .AMAZON (application number 1-1315-58086) and related IDNs in Japanese (application number 1-1318-83995) and Chinese (application number 1-1318-5581) filed by Amazon EU S.à r.l. should not proceed. By adopting the GAC advice, the NGPC notes that the decision is without prejudice to the continuing efforts by Amazon EU S.à r.l. and members of the GAC to pursue dialogue on the relevant issues.
The NGPC noted that it has no idea why the GAC chose to issue consensus advice against .amazon, but based its deliberations on the mountain of correspondence sent by South American nations.
Peru and Brazil, which share the Amazonia region of the continent, led the charge against the bids, saying they would “prevent the use of this domain for the purposes of public interest related to the protection, promotion and awareness raising on issues related to the Amazon biome”.
Amazon had argued that “Amazon” is not a geographic term and that it was against international law for governments to intervene and prevent it using its trademark.
ICANN commissioned a legal analysis that concluded that the organization was under no legal obligation to either reject or accept the applications.
Under the rules of the new gTLD program, the NGPC could have rejected the GAC’s advice, which would have led to a somewhat lengthy consultation process to resolve (or not) their differences.
The big question now is what Amazon, which has invested heavily in the new gTLD program, plans to do next.
A Reconsideration Request would be the simplest option for appeal, though almost certainly a futile gesture. An Independent Review Process complaint might be slightly more realistic.
There’s always the courts, though all new gTLD applicants have to sign legal waivers when they apply.
A fourth option would be for Amazon to negotiate with the affected governments in an attempt to get the GAC advice reversed. The company has already attempted this — offering to protect certain key words related to the region at the second level, for example — but to no avail.