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Apple secures iPad trademark

Kevin Murphy, March 29, 2010, Gossip

Apple has bought the “iPad” trademark, as it relates to handheld computers, from Fujitsu.
The deal removes any doubt, if there ever was any, that anybody registering domain names containing the string had better unload them quickly or get lawyered up.
According to PatentAuthority.com, the US trademark on iPad was transferred to Apple on March 17. Details of the deal were not disclosed.
Fujitsu filed for the trademark several years ago to cover its line of handheld retail devices.
You may recall that a music producer made headlines last week for attempting to sell the domain ipaddownloads.com and others for $1 million on eBay.

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WIPO wants tougher cybersquatting rules on new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, March 29, 2010, Domain Registries

The World Intellectual Property Organization reckons ICANN should toughen its stance against new gTLD registries that allow cybersquatting.
The “trademark post-delegation dispute resolution procedure” or Trademark PDDRP would let trademark holders try to suspend new TLDs and receive compensation when a registry allows cybersquatting.
WIPO wants the burden of proof on trademark holders relaxed, making it much easier to file complaints.
Currently, the draft process would require complainants to show registries’ “specific bad faith intent” to profit from cybersquatting.
WIPO thinks this should be broadened to include deliberate recklessness.
“In seeking to give meaning to ‘intent,’ the criteria should, without as such imposing or implying any sweeping registry policing duty, also encompass instances of willful blindness,” WIPO wrote.
The comments came in response to ICANN’s public comment period on the process, which closes on Thursday.

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ICM says ICANN’s options for .xxx are ‘unacceptable’

Kevin Murphy, March 28, 2010, Domain Registries

ICM Registry has issued a speedy response to ICANN’s .xxx approval options paper, calling it “unacceptable” and urging the ICANN board to put the issue to bed ASAP.
Late Friday, ICANN published a flowchart outlining the possible ways the board could handle .xxx in the light of February’s Independent Review Panel decision, which found ICANN acted unfairly when it rejected the TLD in 2007.
ICM president Stuart Lawley said in a letter to ICANN today that most of the paths through the flowcharts “are in many respects substantively and procedurally inconsistent with the IRP declaration”.
The company believes the IRP decision resets the approval process to prior to the 2007 decision, when the two parties were in contract talks for an already-approved TLD.
The letter claims that “it would be inappropriate, illegal and inconsistent with ICANN’s core values and model of self governance for ICANN to set up an evaluative process that is lacking in objectivity and that does not affirmatively give effect to the underlying IRP declaration”.
There are presumably few people involved with ICANN in any doubt that ICM intends to take its case to the ‘proper’ courts if needs be, which is probably why its powers-that-be have been unwilling to meet with the company.
As I reported Friday, the options paper creates the possibility of re-evaluating the .xxx application under the Draft Applicant Guidebook v4 for new gTLDs, which is not yet completed.
It also suggests that ICANN will have to ask its Governmental Advisory Committee for its current opinion on the application, a move likely to stretch out a decision for months.
It also has an option to expedite the approval based on the “sponsored” TLD process under which ICM, and others such as .post and .asia, originally applied.
ICM’s latest letter is here. ICANN’s options paper can be found here. The public comment period is open here. Unlike many ICANN comments periods, it has comments.

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ICANN may kick .xxx into new gTLD round

Kevin Murphy, March 27, 2010, Domain Registries

ICANN has chosen to deal with the controversial .xxx TLD application by leaving essentially all options, including urging it into the next gTLD round, wide open.
ICM Registry had pushed for a speedy resolution to its long-running application, following the Independent Review Panel decision that went in its favour last month, but it hasn’t got one.
In Nairobi, ICANN’s board asked ICANN’s staff to tell it what its options were for dealing with the ruling, and staff today responded with this flowchart. Oh, and this flowchart.
It seems that these options are still on the table: …continue reading

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FourSquare.com expires, reporter seeks padding

Kevin Murphy, March 26, 2010, Gossip

Visitors to one of the web’s hottest geo apps had a bit of a surprise today when instead of FourSquare.com’s normal site they found a Go Daddy parking page.
It’s the usual problem — the company forgot to renew its registration.
That’s pretty much all there is to say about the story, unless you’re London daily newspaper Metro, which decided to pad the piece with a big chunk of lorem ispum:
Metro screenshot
It’s free for a reason.

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The most confusing new gTLDs (allegedly)

Kevin Murphy, March 26, 2010, Domain Registries

I don’t know how I missed it until today, but I’ve discovered ICANN has a web-based tool that will be used to determine whether new gTLDs could be confused with existing strings.
The Sword Group algorithm compares applied-for strings with a list of existing TLDs and reserved words such as “icann” and “ripe”.
It looks for “visual similarity”, which means not only common sequences of characters but also the pixel-by-pixel similarities of each character.
Numerical scores are assigned. Any match scoring below 30 is not considered worthy of reporting.
As an experiment, I ran each of the strings on newTLDs.tv’s list of publicly announced TLD hopefuls through the available “pre-production” algorithm.
Here are my findings.
1. The algorithm is pretty much worthless. …continue reading

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Nominet bill set for UK law

Kevin Murphy, March 25, 2010, Domain Registries

The UK government is set to pass a controversial law that will create powers to regulate domain names more or less arbitrarily and even seize control of the .uk registry.
The Digital Economy Bill is best known for its Draconian anti-piracy provisions, but it also gives the relevant Secretary of State the power to replace Nominet as the .uk registry manager.
To oust Nominet, the secretary of state would have to decide that certain fairly broad criteria had been met. Quoting from the bill’s explanatory notes:

The registry itself, its end-users (that is, owners of or applicants for domain names) or registrars (that is, agents of end-users) have been engaging in practices prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State which are unfair or which involve the misuse of internet domain names; or
The registry’s arrangements for dealing with complaints in connection with domain names do not comply with requirements prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State.

The practices in question are expected to include: cybersquatting, drop-catching, “pressure sales tactics”, phishing, distributing malware, spamming or “intentionally misleading the public into believing there is a connection between the domain name owner and other organisations”.
Basically, the daily background noise of the internet. …continue reading

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NeuStar files for patent on DNSSEC hack

Kevin Murphy, March 25, 2010, Domain Tech

NeuStar has applied for a US patent on a stop-gap technology for authenticating DNS queries without the need for DNSSEC.
The application, published today, describes a system of securing the DNS connection between authoritative name servers and recursive servers belonging to ISPs.
It appears to cover the technology underlying Cache Defender, a service it started offering via its UltraDNS brand last July.
It was created to prevent the kind of man-in-the-middle attacks permitted by the 2008 Kaminsky exploit, which let attackers poison recursive caches, redirecting users to phoney web sites.
The DNSSEC standard calls for DNS traffic to be digitally signed and was designed to significantly mitigate this kind of attack, but it has yet to be widely deployed.
Some ccTLDs are already signed, but gTLD users will have to wait until at least this summer. The .org zone will be signed in June and ICANN will sign the root in July but .com will not be signed until next year.
While Kaminsky’s vulnerability has been broadly patched, brute-force attacks are still possible, according an ISP’s experience cited in the patent filing.
“The patch that experts previously believed would provide enough time to get DNSSEC deployed literally provided the industry just a few extra weeks,” it reads.

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Burberry files UDRP on Engrish squatter

Kevin Murphy, March 25, 2010, Gossip

Burberry, the once-respectable fashion house more commonly associated nowadays with British chavs, has filed a UDRP complaint against a webmaster with an hilarious grasp of English.
Two claims were made against burberryscarfshop.com and burberryscarfstore.com. One site appears to be aimed at Brits, the other Americans, although you’d never know it from the language.
The American site claims: “To provide the superior scarves and service is our common logos and incessant pursue.”
From the British site:

Burberryscarfshop.com of the opinion that no people should go without beautiful scarf.
It is very important and exciting for every people to choose the perfect scarf in the preparation of his happy day!

I wonder which way this decision is going to go…

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Pornographers still hate .xxx

Kevin Murphy, March 24, 2010, Domain Registries

The Free Speech Coalition, a trade group for the porn industry, has condemned the proposed .xxx top-level domain as “untenable” and “detrimental”.
In a letter to ICANN, FSC executive director Diane Duke challenged ICANN’s board to “settle the issue once and for all by going to the actual community to test the application’s true level of support”.
The FSC is concerned that the introduction of .xxx, as proposed and pursued by ICM Registry for the last 10 years, will inevitably lead to government regulation of the online porn industry.
Duke wrote: “a proposal for a ‘Sponsored’ top-level domain by a company that is not of the industry, with the added intent to ‘regulate’ an industry it knows nothing about, is simply untenable”.
The FSC has an even bigger problem with IFFOR, the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, the group set up by ICM to act as its sponsoring organisation
IFFOR – a bit of a hack to get around the fact that ICM was essentially applying for a gTLD during a “sponsored” TLD round – was loosely modelled on ICANN’s own bottoms-up structure, with four supporting organisations creating policy for .xxx domains.
Judging by this flowchart, which is open to interpretation, the adult industry would control less than half the votes.
“Our resolute position is that no self-respecting industry would ever agree to have a minority voice on a board tasked with setting critical policies for its members,” Duke wrote.
While ICANN ultimately rejected .xxx due to the lack of community support, ICM did manage to get some support from other areas of the adult community back in 2005.
ICANN was found at fault when it rejected .xxx. The question now is whether ICANN decides to stand by its first decision, to approve .xxx, or its second, to reject it.
Bottom line: It can’t win either way.

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