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.wine applicants changing tune on geo protection?

Kevin Murphy, November 3, 2014, 14:22:32 (UTC), Domain Registries

Aggressive lobbying of ICANN by the wine-making industries on both sides of the Atlantic may be about to bear fruit.

Applicants for .wine and .vin are talking to the organization about providing special protection for a list of “geographic indicator” terms, according to CEO Fadi Chehade.

In a letter to French secretary of state for digital Axelle Lemaire published last week, Chehade said:

The parties involved are now working on devising a mechanism which would offer protections to a reserved list of names, which would be contractually protected through ICANN’s registry agreement, along with a set of rules around how those names could be distributed to parties that have interests in and the rights to them. Once they are finalized, ICANN would be charged with monitoring and ensuring compliance with these commitments.

While the details have not yet been revealed, this appears to be what wine makers have been looking for.

GIs are terms such as “Napa Valley” and “Champagne”. While they are protected under various national and international laws, they don’t enjoy the same degree of global recognition as trademarks.

They do not qualify for inclusion in the Trademark Clearinghouse, so would not automatically be protected when .wine and .vin launch.

ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee was unable to reach consensus on what should be done about GIs. European countries wanted protections, but the US, Canada and Australia were against the idea.

Wine makers presented a pretty unified front, however, even when they did not benefit from the support of their own governments.

Industry groups and the European Commission had separately started Cooperative Engagement Processes with ICANN — a prelude to filing Independent Review Process complaints.

These CEPs are evidently what kick-started the current negotiations.

There are three applicants for .wine — Donuts, Famous Four and Afilias. Only Donuts has applied for .vin.

Donuts declined to comment on the talks referred to in the Chehade letter.

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Comments (6)

  1. It is possible and allowed to protect a Wine Geographical Indication in the TMCH.

  2. Some sense at the last minute?

  3. laurent says:

    The TMCH registration for GI is possible but it doesn’t provide any protection (no URS nor UDRP possible for GI registered under the TMCH).

    • Jean Guillon says:

      I would say the good reason to register in the TMCH is then to register the corresponding domain name. I agree it does not really make sense to register if no domains are then purchased but to keep an eye on the registered string.

  4. I think it will be for the benefit of the TLD to protect that very limited list of domain names and only give them to the official office overseeing that geographic indicator. The reliable image of the .wine and .vin TLD isn’t going to be created by having “cheap bubbly wines ltd” running http://www.champagne.vin

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