2015-06-21

IANA Trademarks and Domain Name, ICANN or IETF Trust?



ICANN video above: Alissa Cooper (IETF) - published on Jul 25, 2014 - Alissa Cooper discusses her representation of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) on the IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) during the group’s first meeting in London, 17-18 July 2014.

Note: this is a continuation of yesterday's post: IANA Transition: IANA Trademark and Domain Name Controversy Erupts.

[Disclosure: this background information and analysis has been provided by the Editor of Domain Mondo, John Poole (hereinafter "John"), who was also an observer of the CWG-Stewardship (observers are called "participants" in the CWG-Stewardship, as they are allowed to have a "voice" in the proceedings, but no "vote" in the consensus decision-making).]

As noted yesterday, Alissa Cooper (hereinafter "Alissa"), ICG co-chair, sent an email to CWG-Stewardship Friday, in which the "ICG requests that the CWG communicate back to us a proposed resolution to this issue by July 2 at 23:59 UTC." This issue being the transfer of the IANA trademarks and domain name to the IETF Trust as proposed by the Numbers community (RIRs/CRISP). The IETF Trust, is not affiliated with ICANN, and according to its website, its sole beneficiary is the IETF, also known as the "the Protocols community," represented by Alissa (see video above). The IETF has agreed to have the IETF Trust be the transferee of the IANA trademarks and domain name (iana.org) which are owned/registered in the name of ICANN. The two other key players in this whole saga are Greg Shatan (hereinafter "Greg"), IP attorney and IPC President, and Professor Milton Mueller (hereinafter "Milton"), who is a member of the ICG but also participates or contributes to the Names, Numbers, Protocols, and CCWG-Accountability mail lists, and has been active in ICANN since the late 1990s.

Here are the most relevant links (dates are all calendar year 2015):

February 23: [CWG-Stewardship] Proposed Design Team: IANA IPR, including IANA Trademark and Domain Name - Greg flagged the Numbers proposal to transfer the IANA trademarks as an issue to be addressed by the CWG-Stewardship on February 23, 2015, by way of his proposed Design Team G.

February 23: [CWG-Stewardship] Fwd: [Internal-cg] Numbers community response to question from the ICG: via Alissa, Numbers community rationale for transferring the trademarks and domain name from ICANN to the IETF Trust.

March 1-2: [CWG-Stewardship] Design team list: Greg responded to John's objection to Design Team G, after which, John concurred with Greg's statement"To my mind, it's actually pretty simple -- the best place for the trademark (and thus the domain name) is the grantor/owner of the right to offer IANA services -- in the external trust model, it would be a trust asset; in the Contract Co. model, it would be Contract Co., in the internal models it would be ICANN. A third party owner doesn't make a lot of sense in any of our models."  John: "... I will defer to your and Jonathan's and Lise's [CWG-Stewardship co-chairs Jonathan Robinson and Lise Fuhr] wise judgment on how to best proceed on this--perhaps even the formality of a design team can be dispensed with--it sounds like you need to move quickly "to slow the train down." If so, do whatever is necessary..." [note: soon thereafter John withdrew from any active participation in the CWG-Stewardship].

So what happened to Greg's Design Team G? Nothing it appears--the CWG-Stewardship Wiki page indicates:

June 10[CWG-Stewardship] drift in v5: Bill Manning and Milton catch the "draft language" that Greg inserted into the CWG-Stewardship proposal, which is the same language referred to by Alissa in her email of June 19, 2015.

June 10-11:  [CWG-Stewardship] drift in v5Milton and Greg each express their respective positions which led to even more discussion by many people on the CWG-Stewardship mail list, including even John, who after reading the exchanges, contributed the historical context--[CWG-Stewardship] drift in v5--to which Greg replied with "thanks," and Milton responded that the historical trademark/domain name record was "not relevant" to which John responded (also explaining the importance of this issue for domain name registrants, trademark holders, and the global multistakeholder community). Thereafter Greg responded to Milton which left the CWG-stewardship proposal with the draft language to which the ICG responded Friday through Alissa.

postscript: Jonathan Robinson's (co-chair of the CWG-Stewardship) posting on June 11, 2015, is interesting:

Bill [Manning],
Two key points from my perspective:
1. There is urgency to send the proposal out to the chartering organisations but that does not in any way imply a lack of recognition to deal with this trademarks issue.
2. Lise and I have previously had meetings with the CRISP chairs. We have also had meetings with the ICG chairs group. The purpose of the meetings was primarily to ensure continuous updates on progress and current issues. We touched on the trademarks issue in a meeting with the ICG chairs yesterday. Clearly, there is now some more work to be done.

Jonathan

Yes, there is clearly "some more work to be done"--that may be the understatement of the year!

Domain Mondo doesn't know how the SO/ACs are supposed to approve a CWG-Stewardship proposal that isn't yet finished. Welcome to the Land of ICANN!

Domain Mondo UPDATE: ICANN Board and CWG address IANA Trademarks and Domain Name


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