22 Describe proposed measures for protection of geographic names at the second and other levels in the applied-for gTLD
|gTLD||Full Legal Name||E-mail suffix||Detail|
|.AIG||American International Group, Inc.||fairwindspartners.com||View|
22 American International Group, Inc. Has Properly Researched This Topic
American International Group, Inc. (“AIG”) is keenly aware of the sensitivity of national governments in connection with protecting country and territory identifiers in the Domain Name System (DNS). In preparation for answering this question, AIG reviewed the following relevant background material regarding the protection of geographic names in the DNS:
-ICANN Board Resolution 01-92 regarding the methodology developed for the reservation and release of country names in the .INFO top-level domain, see http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄minutes⁄minutes-10sep01.htm;
-ICANN’s Proposed Action Plan on .INFO Country Names, see http:⁄⁄www.icann.org⁄en⁄meetings⁄montevideo⁄action-plan-country-names-09oct01.htm;
-“Report of the Second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process: The Recognition and Rights and the Use of Names in the Internet Domain Name System,” Section 6, Geographical Identifiers, see http:⁄⁄www.wipo.int⁄amc⁄en⁄processes⁄process2⁄report⁄html⁄report.html;
-ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Principles Regarding New gTLDs, see https:⁄⁄gacweb.icann.org⁄download⁄attachments⁄1540128⁄gTLD_principles_0.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1312358178000;
-ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization Reserved Names Working Group – Final Report, see http:⁄⁄gnso.icann.org⁄issues⁄new-gtlds⁄final-report-rn-wg-23may07.htm.
22.1 Initial Reservation of Country and Territory Names
AIG is committed to initially reserving the country and territory names contained in the internationally recognized lists described in Article 5 of Specification 5 attached to the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook at the second level and at all other levels in the .AIG gTLD, within which AIG will provide for registrations. Specifically, AIG will reserve:
1. The short form (in English) of all country and territory names contained on the ISO 3166-1 list, as updated from time to time, including the European Union, which is exceptionally reserved on the ISO 3166-1 list, and its scope extended in August 1999 to any application needing to represent the name European Union, see http:⁄⁄www.iso.org⁄iso⁄support⁄country_codes⁄iso_3166_code_lists⁄iso-3166-1_decoding_table.htm#EU;
2. The United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names, Technical Reference Manual for the Standardization of Geographical Names, Part III Names of Countries of the World; and
3. The list of United Nations member states in six official United Nations languages prepared by the Working Group on Country Names of the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names.
22.2 Fair & Non-Misleading Use of Geographical Identifiers
AIG is a leading international and financial insurance organization with approximately 63,000 employees serving customers in more than 130 countries. AIG content is accessible in the .COM gTLD, as well as a multitude of ccTLDs.
In providing content and services online, AIG makes regular use of Internet technology that allows users to quickly find content related to each of its brands in each of the countries in which it has a presence.
Given this geographic approach to finding AIG content, and given that AIG markets its leading brands and products across the globe, AIG intends to explore the option of providing a hierarchical and intuitive framework for the .AIG namespace by using geographical identifiers as second-level domain names. AIG believes the use of geographical identifiers to the left of the TLD and as part of the domain name itself has a direct and material impact on search engine algorithms and their corresponding query results. In addition, such naming conventions are intuitive and practiced by direct navigation Internet users (those who type their intended destination into address bars as opposed to search engines). AIG would like to determine if this type of hierarchical and intuitive use of second-level domain names within a gTLD provides increased consumer functionality, as premised by ICANN.
Currently, AIG operates a number of corporate websites using a combination of second-level and top-level domain names. A representative sampling of AIG websites that incorporate geographical identifiers into the domain name include:
AIG believes that a .AIG gTLD can provide an online, single-source identifying function for its current and future customers around the world. This is in contrast to the present approach AIG has used as it expands into different markets around the world, which consists of registering the domain names that are available, rather than those that may be the most intuitive.
22.3 The Legal Protection of Geographical Identifiers
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) authored an authoritative resource on the current state of the law in connection with the protection of geographical identifiers, its 2001 “Report of the Second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process: The Recognition of Rights and the Use of Names in the Internet Domain Name System” (“WIPO Report”). Section six of the WIPO Report was devoted exclusively to the protection of Geographical Identifiers.
From its analysis of the well established framework against the misuse of geographical identifiers at the international, regional, and national levels, WIPO identified the following two elements for the protection of geographical identifiers: (i) a prohibition of false descriptions of the geographical source of goods; and (ii) a more extensive set of rules prohibiting the misuse of one class of geographical source indicators, known as geographical indications (See WIPO Report Paragraphs 206 and 210). Neither false descriptions of the geographical source of goods, nor misuse of geographical indications, is present in AIG’s current or proposed use of geographical identifiers.
Notwithstanding WIPO’s observation that the protection of geographical identifiers is “a difficult area on which views are not only divided, but also ardently held” (Paragraph 237), national governments within the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) and other international fora have continued to advocate for increased safeguards to protect against the misuse of geographical identifiers within the DNS.
AIG, acting as a responsible global business, seeks to avoid business practices that could potentially mislead consumers. AIG does believe, however, that it is important to be able to use geographical identifiers in a fair and non-misleading manner, if such use can benefit Internet users and consumers as proposed in AIG’s business model.
22.4 Fair & Non-Misleading Use of Geographical Identifiers
In undertaking a thorough research of this subject matter prior to filing this application, AIG was able to uncover the following representative sampling of fair and non-misleading use of geographical identifiers used in the existing gTLD domain name space:
Fair Use of National Geographical Identifiers
AUSTRALIA.COOP – Is operated by Co-operatives Australia, the national body for State Co-operative Federations, and provides a valuable resource about cooperatives within Australia.
UK.COOP – Is operated by Co-operatives UK, the national trade body that campaigns for cooperation and works to promote, develop, and unite cooperative enterprises within the United Kingdom.
NZ.COOP – Is operated by the New Zealand Cooperatives Association, which brings together the country’s cooperative mutual businesses in a not-for-profit incorporated society.
USA.JOBS – Is operated by DirectEmployers Association (DE). While Employ Media, the registry operator of the .JOBS gTLD, is currently in a dispute with ICANN regarding the allocation of this and other domain names, DE has a series of partnerships and programs with the United States Department of Labor, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, and Facebook to help unemployed workers find jobs.
MALDIVIAN.AERO – Is the dominant domestic air carrier in Maldives, and provides a range of commercial and leisure air transport services.
Fair Use of Regional⁄Local Geographic Identifiers
TEXAS.JOBS – Is operated through a joint effort between DE, the Texas Workforce Commission, and the National Labor Exchange to connect job seekers with approximately 96,000 job openings. An additional domain name operated by this joint effort was WORKINTEXAS-VETERANS.JOBS – Is a resource devoted to helping Texas veterans translate their military skills to jobs in the civil marketplace.
BOISE.COOP – Is operated by Boise Co-op, a member-owned cooperative founded in 1973 by a few dozen individuals who shared a mutual interest in buying healthful and organic food at reasonable prices.
BROOKLYN.COOP – Is operated by Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, which began as a modest storefront business in 2001, but is now New York City’s fastest growing credit union and a model for community development credit unions nationwide.
HYDERABAD.AERO – Is operated by the Hyderabad International Airport and provides a range of interactive services and information for both business and leisure travelers.
SACRAMENTO.AERO – Is a portal website operated by Sacramento County to provide links to each of the airports serving the Sacramento area: Sacramento International Airport (SMF), Mather Airport (MHR), Executive Airport (SAC), and Franklin Field (F72).
22.5 Protection of Regional and Local Geographic Names for Non-Misleading Use
AIG has stated its intention to consider using non-reserved geographic identifiers as part of a hierarchical and intuitive framework in a fair and non-misleading manner to help consumers navigate the .AIG namespace. AIG is committed to operating the .AIG gTLD in a manner that minimizes potential consumer confusion, and will actively work with others in the ICANN community regarding any future policy development in this area.
22.6 Potential Future Release of Initially Reserved Names
As a global insurance and financial organization, AIG looks forward to collaborating with other new gTLD registry operators (especially .BRAND gTLDs) in potentially working with ICANN’s GAC to explore processes that could permit the release of initially reserved country names (including ISO-3166 two-characters). Specifically, AIG is interested in exploring other Registry Service Evaluation Processes (RSEP) that have been filed by existing gTLD registry operators in releasing previously reserved domain names.
22.7 Dispute Resolution
AIG does not envision any potential disputes from governments or public authorities in connection with the registration and use of geographic names within the .AIG gTLD based upon its proposed use set forth in the response to Question 18 of this application.
However, AIG is committed to working with governments, public authorities, or IGOs that may have a concern regarding the registration of names with national or geographic significance at the second level within the .AIG gTLD. Therefore, should any disputes arise, AIG will immediately initiate steps to undertake a policy development process as described below.
22.8 Creation and Updating the Policies
Should the need arise in the future for the creation or updating of the policies regarding this class of domain names, AIG will act in an open and transparent manner to develop such a policy and⁄or recommendation.
AIG is also committed to continually reviewing and updating these lists to prevent the misleading use of geographical identifiers. Consistent with this commitment, AIG intends to participate in any ongoing ICANN policy discussion regarding the protection of geographic names within the DNS.
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