IEEE Global LLC (“IEEE Global”) takes seriously the need to protect the interests of governments and peoples as they relate to the use of geographic names in the .IEEE gTLD. ICANN has urged that applicants for new gTLDs “draw on existing methodology developed for” protection of geographic names in the .INFO top level domain, and IEEE Global will adopt methodologies for protecting geographic names that will be significantly more stringent than those used in the .INFO gTLD. Unlike in the .INFO gTLD, country and territory names, as included on the official lists specified in IEEE Global’s Registry Agreement with ICANN, will be automatically blocked, without any relevant governmental or other authority needing to take any affirmative action, unless and until IEEE Global obtains permission to release them from specific governments or the GAC.
Most fundamentally, the .IEEE gTLD, as a dot-brand registry, with content created solely by IEEE, its subsidiaries, and its organizational units for the benefit of the IEEE community, is by its nature more protective of rights in geographic names than are general use, open registries like .INFO. The .IEEE top-level domain, which consists of a well-known name, together with the content that will be associated with the domain names in the gTLD, will eliminate any likelihood of confusion, on the part of end-users, that any name or content associated with the gTLD has been produced by any public authority. A website connected to [GeographicName].INFO could be seen as officially sanctioned by a governmental authority related to the geographic name. The same will not true of a website connected to [GeographicName].IEEE, when the website is used to describe IEEE and its activities in the named geographic area.
II. Protection of Country and Territory Names
As described in the September 9, 2003 “GAC Chair circular letter on Reservation of Country Names in Dot Info” (online at https:⁄⁄gacweb.icann.org⁄display⁄gacweb⁄new+gtlds), protection of country names in the .INFO gTLD included temporary protection of names in the ISO 3166-1 standard which would be made permanent as to a particular name if and only if the government or public authority concerned took affirmative action by sending a request to the GAC for authentication, obtaining an authorization number, and taking further additional steps.
By contrast, under the Registry Agreement that IEEE Global will execute with ICANN, all country names in ISO 3166-1 and in other lists will automatically be reserved and will only be released upon IEEE Global’s seeking and obtaining specific permission from the GAC or the individual countries involved. The relevant terms of the Registry Agreement are as follows:
Country and Territory Names. The country and territory names contained in the following internationally recognized lists shall be initially reserved at the second level and at all other levels within the TLD at which the Registry Operator provides for registrations:
5.1. 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, http:⁄⁄www.iso.org⁄iso⁄support⁄country_codes⁄iso_3166_code_lists⁄iso-3166- 1_decoding_table.htm#EU;
5.2. 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
5.3. the list of United Nations member states in 6 official United Nations languages prepared by the Working Group on Country Names of the United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names;
provided, that the reservation of specific country and territory names may be released to the extent that Registry Operator reaches agreement with the applicable government(s), provided, further, that Registry Operator may also propose release of these reservations, subject to review by ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee and approval by ICANN.
III. Content Associated With .IEEE Domain Names With Geographic Significance at the Second Level
As explained elsewhere in this application, the mission and purpose of the .IEEE gTLD is to serve the IEEE community and to assist in its mission to foster technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity (the “.IEEE gTLD Mission & Purpose”). IEEE Global will require that, when any name with geographic significance (other than the country and territory names discussed in Part II above) is used by itself at the second level, it must be associated with content (such as a website) relating to IEEE’s activities in furtherance of the .IEEE gTLD Mission & Purpose in the named geographic area.
This is essentially a requirement for descriptive, rather than source-identifying, use of geographic names. It will make clear that the geographic name describes the location of IEEE activities and does not name the source of the content on the website. It will significantly reduce the likelihood that any end-user will believe that the domain name or content associated with it is sponsored by or related to any public authority or community of people.
To the extent a name having geographic significance also has non-geographic significance in relation to the associated content, this requirement will not apply. For instance, even if there exists a city named “Members,” IEEE Global may associate a website containing information about or for IEEE’s members, without any reference to that city, with the domain name Members.IEEE.
IV. Procedures to Allow Governments, Public Authorities, IGOs, and Others to Challenge Abuses of Names at The Second Level
IEEE Global’s Acceptable Use Policy, as submitted with this application in response to Question 28, incorporates the GAC’s advice regarding procedures to allow challenges to abuses of names at the second level.