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Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Trademarks, IDN & the WHOIS Nightmare

Great article over at Names@Work

Excerpt: "If you own trademarks, you’ve got serious trouble ahead. As the International Trademark Assn (INTA) puts it in a comment to ICANN,
“The IDN Guidelines do not mention, let alone deal with, any Whois issues that will arise from the implemenation of IDNs…. INTA respectfully submits that the draft IDN Guidelines must deal with the creation, maintenance and publication of Whois data, and that a further draft dealing with Whois issues should be prepared and resubmitted for public comment.”
What they’re really talking about here is finding violators of their trademarks; about doing searches for IDNs. But respectfully or not, INTA is going to get nowhere on this one, because searching of IDNs is really tough. While you can create and register IDNs (and have been able to for some time), you can’t at present search for anything except an exact match. So if you were farsighted enough to have registered your trademark as a domain name in (say) one of the several Chinese scripts, you will be able to search for that exact domain name, but you won’t be able to do any pattern searching. No plurals, no misspellings, no instances of your mark contained in longer names — no variations at all unless you search for them one by one."

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