2015-02-20

INTA President J Scott Evans on ICANN, IANA Transition, WTR Interview



INTA the breach: J Scott Evans interview by World Trademark Review: The first World Trademark Review podcast, J Scott Evans, president of the International Trademark Association, talking about all things brand, including new gTLDsINTA website: inta.org

World Trademark Review website: worldtrademarkreview.com
"... World Trademark Review... we look at the law from a strategic perspective, looking at how it facilitates brand creation, protection and ultimately monetisation. In short, it’s really about best practice when it comes to managing the trademark asset. Our blog, therefore, tackles the full range of trademark and brand issues..."

INTA The Breach; J Scott Evans Interview--TranscriptJ – J Scott Evans; T – Trevor Little (excerpts): 
J: “... I think that the internet and ICANN as a DNS governance body has been very important to trademark owners over the last 15 years, and INTA - as a founding member of the intellectual property constituency - has been actively involved in this matter since the very beginning. But we've had oversight by the US government, and however loose that may have been, it did somehow provide sort of a carrot-and-a-stick approach to ICANN and had some way of holding them in line. So if you weren’t satisfied with how ICANN was operating, you had someone you could go to and file a grievance or complaint or have them look into it, and be a - not really a policeman - but just a mediator of interest if those interests were not aligning correctly. And that’s going away, so the big question is: How is that going to evolve? What is going to be the new model? And I don’t think anyone can answer that right now. And I think INTA and trademarks owners all around the world should be very focused on making sure that the proper structures and procedures are put into place so ICANN can be held accountable for the decisions it makes, so there’s some sort of mechanism should a decision be poorly taken that there can be some sort mechanism to have that looked at and reviewed and discussed other than it being a “fait accompli”. I think also one of the biggest issues for me personally, and I would say it should be for everyone in the trademark community and really for citizens of the world, is the fact that the government advisory committee within ICANN has become increasingly proactive and, for example, they- I’m sure you’re very aware - have denied and have continued to deny Amazon the dot Amazon top level domain, claiming it is somehow a geographical indicator. Now that’s just not true, it’s not a geographic indication, and there is no law that I’m aware of in my 22 years of practice that supports that conclusion.... what happens when the next issue is gay rights? Or women’s issues? And some group of countries or tow-towing regime says ‘this offends us morally, so we should have no more content related to women’s issues on the web’. And I think this should disturb everyone, not just as trademark owners or brand owners, but as citizens of the world, and I think we need to be at the table, we need to be very clear that this sort of mechanism is not going to be acceptable. That is not a multi-stakeholderism, we will not accept it and we are not going to allow it to occur.”....
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J: "... a trademark is only part of a brand - it’s the legal side of the brand, it’s sort of the nuts and bolts of a brand, but a brand is an emotional attachment that consumers have - an affinity they have for certain products. A love, if you want, and I think in a world where consumers have so much power, because social media gives consumers so much power, that trademark counsel and practitioners need to understand that the world has changed and we’re not just talking about legal rights any more, we’re talking about managing and working with marketers and brand managers within your own organisation to steward a brand - and a brand is so much bigger and so much more emotional than what a trademark is. And I think we need to understand that it’s really bigger than that. We have an obligation to work with our business people to make sure that that ethereal thing that is a brand, that is so very valuable in the mind of consumers and on your balance sheet, is protected and that we’re being creative and innovative, and we’re not forgetting that emotion, that raw sense of loyalty that consumers feel for products that they love and enjoy.”

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