ICC seminar to help businesses face new Internet domain name endings

  • 23 June 2011

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is responding to the new potentially paradigm-shifting change to the Internet domain system, announced this week, by organizing a seminar in Paris to help prepare business and legal professionals.

As part of the new system, which was adopted on Monday in Singapore by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Internet address names can be tagged at the end with almost any word in any language. This could result in companies paying for web addresses ending with their own brand name instead of “.com”.

The ICC seminar, “The Changing Domain Name Landscape and new gTLDs”, is taking place on 30 September and aims to help participants to face challenges presented by the new system, as well as to make the most out of the new domain name environment.

ICC, which provides business input into ICANN, is drawing on its international network and inviting experts from leading companies and firms to provide input on these new website address endings, known as generic top-level domain names, or gTLDs.

ICANN had previously only approved 22 gTLDs. This decision goes much further, allowing any organization to apply for a word after the dot. Among the scores of ideas for new gTLDs are cities, like “.NYC” and “.berlin”, or products such as “.brand name”.

While offering opportunities for organizations around the world to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways, the new naming possibilities will also exponentially increase the numbers of domain names at all levels, adding new challenges for companies to manage trademark infringements and security risks on the Internet.

“The explosion in the number of domain names, which will have to be monitored for trademark infringements and security risks, will force companies to rethink their domain names management strategies. Companies will now have to decide whether or not to invest in personalized gTLDs to protect their interests and to take advantage of new business opportunities,” said Ingrid Baele, Vice Chair of the ICC Commission on Intellectual Property and Vice-President of Philips Intellectual Property and Standards.

Applying for a new gTLD comes with a price-tag of around US$185,000. ICC’s seminar will help businesses decide if it is worth paying such sums to have their own “.brand name” and will also explain the application process, as well as the financial and legal implications.

Seminar participants will learn about which strategies companies can take to reduce exposure to trademark abuse and security risks, in addition to the enforcement and dispute resolution procedures available to them.

The event is part of a new ICC training series, “Training for business by business”, which encourages world business leaders to share their practical experiences. The programme, including question and answer sessions, will be run in both English and French.

“This seminar is an important step in ICC’s ongoing engagement with ICANN and the business community with respect to new gTLDs. ICC has provided critical input to improving gTLD policies, and this seminar will be part of an effort to ensure that the global business community makes informed decisions and recommendations as ICANN implements the new policy,” said Eric Loeb, Chair of ICC’s Task Force on Internet and Telecoms Infrastructure and Services, and Vice President of International External and Regulatory Affairs at AT&T Services.

It is open to anyone interested in the new business opportunities and risks presented by the changing domain name landscape. It will be particularly useful to businesses working with domain names, lawyers advising clients on trademarks and Internet risks and opportunities, as well as Internet businesses and consultants.