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ICANN asked to protect the names of body parts

Kevin Murphy, March 28, 2012, 10:40:55 (UTC), Domain Policy

There’s been no shortage of special pleading in relation to ICANN’s new generic top-level domains program, but this has to be the wackiest yet.
The National Health Council, an American advocacy group, has written to ICANN to ask for extra brand protection for the names of body parts, disabiliies and diseases.
NHC president Myrl Weinberg wrote:

Because it is not possible to trademark a body part (e.g., lung, liver) or a disease category (e.g., arthritis, diabetes), it is difficult for the patient advocacy community to protect the use of such words.

We strongly urge ICANN to set forth a process that investigates the potential for misunderstanding, confusion, and harm when awarding gTLDs utilizing the name of a body part or disease/disability.

The letter was inexplicably sent to ICANN’s public comment period on the Universal Acceptance of TLDs. Needless to say it’s completely off-topic, not to mention extremely late.
What seems to have happened is that the NHC’s members received a briefing recently from an ICANN staffer as part of its outreach program and what they learned gave them the williesTM.

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Comments (5)

  1. John Berryhill says:

    If they had better lobbyists, we’d be hearing all about how trade in body parts is protected by international conventions and treaties, thus making the names of body parts uniquely appropriate for special protection as domain names, unless the makers of “HEAD” brand sporting equipment or fans of the band “HEART”, both trademarks, beat them to it.
    Your horoscope for today: If you were born between June 22 and July 22, do not apply for a new TLD.

  2. Mike says:

    I thought someone was applying for .diabetes already. maybe the NHC caught wind and that is what prompted the late comment

  3. Ken says:

    Does that mean that “willie” will be on the protected list ?
    You indicated in your final paragraph that an ICANN staffer gave the the willies.. How did they get awarded “willies” before the application period closed ?

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