The International Olympic Committee has threatened to sue ICANN unless it gives IOC trademarks special protection in its new top-level domains program.
The IOC’s critique of ICANN’s new Applicant Guidebook is the first to be filed by a major organization in the current public comment period.
The organization has accused ICANN of ignoring it, preferring instead to take its policy cues from the domain name industry, and said it should “abandon its current timeline” for the launch.
ICANN currently plans to start accepting TLD applications May 30, 2011.
Calling the guidebook “inherently flawed”, the IOC’s director general Urs Lacotte wrote:
If these critical issues are not fully resolved and ICANN chooses not to place the Olympic trademarks on the reserved names list, then the IOC and its National Olympic Committees are prepared to employ all available legislative, regulatory, administrative and judicial mechanisms to hold ICANN accountable for damage caused to the Olympic movement.
(That language looks like it could have been cut-n-paste from a separate letter from the financial services industry, which I reported on last week).
The IOC said that it has opposed the new TLD program 11 times – asking for its trademarks to be placed on the AGB’s reserved strings lists, but received no response.
Special pleading? Perhaps, but the IOC’s trademarks are already specifically protected by legislation in numerous countries, including the US, UK, Canada and China.
The IOC also wants stronger trademark protection mechanisms, such as mandatory typosquatting protections in sunrise periods and extending dispute proceedings to registrars.
Expect many more such missives to start showing up on the ICANN web site over the next 11 days before the ICANN board of directors meets to approve the AGB in Cartagena.
This may be the last chance many organizations get to ask for the changes they want in the AGB before the first round of new TLD applications opens, and I expect them to seize it with both hands.