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.food applies for dot-brand status, but you can help stop it

Kevin Murphy, October 6, 2015, 17:12:21 (UTC), Domain Policy

Scripps Networks, the company that runs the Food Network television network, wants to make .food a dot-brand gTLD that only it can use.

The company has applied to ICANN to have Specification 13 exemptions incorporated into its Registry Agreement.

Spec 13 is an add-on to the RA that dot-brands use to exempt themselves from having to sell to the public via the registrar channel, offer sunrise periods, and so on.

Scripps subsidiary Lifestyle Domains won the .food contention set after an auction with Donuts and Dot Food LLC a couple months ago.

It’s one of the applications that was identified by the Governmental Advisory Committee as a “closed generic”. Such applications were subsequently banned by ICANN.

Scripps and dozens of other applicants were given the option to change their applications to remove the single-registrant policy, to withdraw, or to carry their applications over to the next round.

But Scripps is pressing ahead regardless, claiming that if anyone else is allowed to own .food domains, all kinds of horrible things will happen. It recently told ICANN:

Internet users will benefit more from Scripps operating .FOOD because it will provide more trusted experiences. Left open to the wild west of typosquatters and cybersquatters or fraudulent users, internet users will be harmed rather than helped. With a plethora of unregulated websites in a fully open registry, the public could be misled or confused as to the origin of the content and information and rely, to their detriment, on such content.

It more recently told ICANN that it has no intention of modifying its application to comply with the GAC advice. ICANN now considers the matter “resolved”.

What’s not resolved is whether .food qualifies for Spec 13 status.

To use Spec 13, the gTLD needs to match a trademark you own, but it cannot be also be a generic string, defined as:

a string consisting of a word or term that denominates or describes a general class of goods, services, groups, organizations or things, as opposed to distinguishing a specific brand of goods, services, groups, organizations or things from those of others.

ICANN lawyers will make the ultimate decision about whether .food qualifies for Spec 13, but the request is open for public comment until October 29.

ICANN told DI: “ICANN has not yet made a determination as to if the application qualifies for Specification 13 and welcomes any comments from the community.”

What do you think? Should something as clearly generic as “food” be a space where only one company can register names?

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Comments (6)

  1. Leslie says:

    Absolutely not. The true “squatters” would be Scripps should this go through. While Scripps undoubtedly has made a name for itself in the world of food entertainment, “food” is not synonymous nor exclusive of the brand Scripps.

  2. Not a Bastard says:

    I hope they will have it.

    It’s time to react seriously, too many descriptive generic domains are already trademarks for THE SAME GOOD AND SERVICES the name itself describes. THOSE BASTARD TRADEMARKS HAVE TO BE C-A-N-C-E-L-L-E-D. P-E-R-I-O-D.

    Everytime a generic descriptive word become a registered trademark for THE SAME NICE CLASS OF GOODS AND SERVICES IT DESCRIBES, you have a steal to everyone, TO ALL PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD.

    Someone out there will be forced to give up his business plans. Sometimes those plans had huge costs, they cost real huge sacrifes, etc.

    Remember fraudsters:

    Everytime a generic descriptive word become a registered trademark for THE SAME NICE CLASS OF GOODS AND SERVICES IT DESCRIBES, you have a STEAL TO EVERYONE, to all people all over the world.

    You, examiner, have to remember this point, because fraudsters deserve to be treated as fraudsters and if you examiner will release a trademark for a GENERIC DESCRIPTIVE WORD IN THE NICE CLASS OF GOOD AND SERVICES THE WORD REFERS TO – or you released a similar BASTARD trademark in the past and you do not delete it tomorrow, you are at risk, because all fraudsters are at risk.

    Please give the generic descriptive name “food” to those unqualificable people who applied to steal the word food to all, to take advantage of CENTURIES of use of that word from HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of million people. Wow, everyone is capable to have success doing a similar INCREDIBLY HUGE STEAL to the ENTIRE HUMANITY. That is stealing the ALPHABET…. Ok, I will say stealing the dictionary, alphabet could be “misunderstood”…

    It’s time to react seriously, in other ways.

    Good luck to Wipo/USPTO/OAMI and ICANN examiners.

  3. Rubens Kuhl says:

    Perhaps the Spec 13 application qualifies as a PIC violation (Spec 11, clauses 3.c and 3.d) ?

    c. Registry Operator will operate the TLD in a transparent manner consistent with general principles of openness and non-discrimination by establishing, publishing and adhering to clear registration policies.

    d. Registry Operator of a “Generic String” TLD may not impose eligibility criteria for registering names in the TLD that limit registrations exclusively to a single person or entity and/or that person’s or entity’s “Affiliates” (as defined in Section 2.9(c) of the Registry Agreement). “Generic String” means a string consisting of a word or term that denominates or describes a general class of goods, services, groups, organizations or things, as opposed to distinguishing a specific brand of goods, services, groups, organizations or things from those of others.

  4. Imran says:

    The trademark clearing house is misused by trademark holders of generic names. Some countries foolishly allow trademarks on generic words like food, hotels, bookings, etc.
    Now this trademark holders apply in the trademark clearing house and benefit by way of preference in domain registration through sunrise period. Even if they don’t register the domain, the entire world is warned from registering this domain.
    It is a big loophole exploited by selfish companies and people. There is a need to address this problem immediately.
    Companies don’t need to pay for Early access program costing around 12500 usd. Instead, they can get trademark in any country of the world and use this to get this generic domain in sunrise period. This way company saves more than 10000 usd. And most importantly it will get the name even before the early access program starts.
    Can ICANN see this?

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