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“Frustrated” Morocco denies it supported .tata gTLD

Kevin Murphy, October 2, 2014, 08:33:26 (UTC), Domain Registries

The Moroccan government claims that it did not give its support to the .tata dot-brand gTLD, which was granted to Tata Group, the massive Indian conglomerate, in July.
According to Boubker Seddik Badr, director of digital economy at Morocco’s ministry of trade, .tata “did not receive any endorsement from any Moroccan authority”.
In a September 17 letter (pdf), he expressed his “surprise and very deep frustration” that .tata had been approved by ICANN regardless.
Under ICANN rules, .tata was classified as a “geographic” string because it matches the name of a Moroccan province found on an International Standards Organization list of protected names.
But Tata’s application was finally approved — it was the last bid to pass through evaluation — after a period Extended Evaluation. Its evaluation report (pdf) reads:

The Geographic Names Panel has determined that your application falls within the criteria for a geographic name contained in the Applicant Guidebook Section, and the documentation of support or non-objection provided has met all relevant criteria in Section of the Applicant Guidebook.

The Guidebook states that letters of support or non-objection:

could be signed by the minister with the portfolio responsible for domain name administration, ICT, foreign affairs, or the Office of the Prime Minister or President of the relevant jurisdiction; or a senior representative of the agency or department responsible for domain name administration, ICT, foreign affairs, or the Office of the Prime Minister.

It’s not clear what documentation Tata provided in order to pass the geographic names review.
Tata Group is a family-owned, $103.27 billion-a-year conglomerate involved in everything from oil to tea to cars to IT consulting to airlines.
The company does not yet appear to have signed a Registry Agreement with ICANN for .tata.
ICANN is to hold its 52nd week-long public meeting in Marrakech, Morocco in February 2015.

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Comments (2)

  1. Freddy says:

    I wonder what will happen now. Will the Moroccans be able to stop this?
    From my point of view the TLD should be granted to the Moroccan government or application should be rejected.
    The country must have a prior right on a TLD. For Domain Names I believe it must be different, but for TLDs always the country because a TLD describes a top category.

    • Rubens Kuhl says:

      It’s not the country that has a right, but the specific government authority. This could be a case of “Ooops, let’s not tell Daddy about this”, in which in the provincial authority could have authorised this, but when federal government found out they denied to save face putting blame on evil american corporation acting on behalf of evil indian corporation. Or it could be forgery, bribery…
      … it would be interesting to know if .TUI, the other TLD with similar outcome, had its governmental non opposition as throughly validated as .TATA.

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