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ANA Urges ICANN to Improve Rights Protection Mechanisms Before Rolling Out New Top Level Domains

WASHINGTON - February 6, 2013 - Concerned that the protections for both consumers and trademark owners currently in place are dangerously inadequate, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) has urged ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) to strongly improve those protections before rolling out any new top level domains. ANA’s reply comments noted that there was overwhelming support from a broad cross-section of industry for Limited Preventative Registrations (LPRs), which identified the LPR as “a critically necessary protection for brand owners.”

The LPR is a mechanism to address serious concerns about the need for “defensive registrations.” It would allow trademark holders to prevent registration of their exact trademarks across all registries for a reasonable fee. ANA also filed earlier comments with ICANN on January 15th in strong support of the LPR approach.

“Within a few months, ICANN is poised to begin adding more than a thousand new gTLDs to the Internet,” said Dan Jaffe, ANA Group Executive Vice President. “Despite the serious concerns raised for over a year by the business community, the law enforcement community and consumer protection agencies, ICANN elevates process over substance and refuses to adequately address rights protections for either consumers or trademark owners. It is way past time for ICANN to do the right thing and address these serious flaws with their gTLD program.”

ANA’s letter notes that the Affirmation of Commitments under which ICANN operates with the U.S. government requires ICANN to act: “The Affirmation of Commitments, ICANN’s highest legal authority, requires that consumer protection issues be adequately addressed prior to implementation. This obligation must be met, as the new gTLD program could foster consumer harm online. Substance must take precedence over procedure. If ICANN permits procedural issues to take priority over its substantive mandates, ICANN will lose its credibility and effectiveness as an organization, and its very existence may be at risk.”

“More than 60 companies and industry groups from a broad cross-section of business sectors just told ICANN that the LPR is critically necessary,” said Jaffe. “But the LPR is only one of the important reforms that ICANN must adopt before rolling out new gTLDs. We need a WHOIS database that is reliable and accurate; a more functional Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) system; and a serious commitment from ICANN to diligently pursue wrongdoers. So far, their progress on each of these fronts is seriously inadequate.”

ANA’s letter stated: “Those opposed to the LPR and the Strawman stick to procedural arguments and technical difficulties because they cannot refute that a serious problem exists. Brandowners, government agencies and others have unequivocally stated that consumer protection, security, malicious abuse and trademark rights protections will exist within the new gTLD program.”

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About the ANA

Founded in 1910, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) leads the marketing community by providing its members with insights, collaboration, and advocacy. ANA's membership includes more than 500 companies with 10,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers. For more information, visit http://www.ana.net/, follow us on Twitter, join us on Facebook, or visit our YouTube channel.

Press Contacts:

Marcus Hardy, CooperKatz & Company for the ANA

(917) 595-3043 or mhardy@cooperkatz.com

Luna Newton, CooperKatz & Company for the ANA

(917) 595-3061 or lnewton@cooperkatz.com

 

 

 

 

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