22 Self Storage LLC Has Properly Researched This Topic
Self Storage Company LLC (Self Storage LLC) 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, Self Storage LLC 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;
• 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
Self Storage LLC 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 all other levels within the .STORAGE generic top-level domain (gTLD) at which it will provide for registrations. Specifically, Self Storage LLC 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
Self Storage LLC believes the use of geographical identifiers to the left of the TLD and as part of the domain name itself can have 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 that type their intended destination into address bars as opposed to search engines). As ICANN has largely premised this new gTLD round on promoting innovation, Self Storage LLC would like to see if this type of hierarchical and intuitive use of second-level domain names within its gTLD provides increased consumer functionality.
22.3 The Legal Protection of Geographical Identifiers
One of the more authoritative resources on the current state of the law in connection with the protection of geographical identifiers was authored by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in its 2001 “Second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process: The Recognition of Rights and the Use of Names in the Internet Domain Name System” report. Chapter six of this 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 “Second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process” (Paragraphs 206 and 210). Neither of these elements is present in Self Storage LLC’s current or proposed use of geographical identifiers.
Notwithstanding WIPO’s recommendation 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.
Self Storage LLC seeks to minimize any potential business practices that might mislead consumers. At the same time, however, Self Storage LLC believes 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 as proposed in its 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, Self Storage LLC’s subject matter experts were 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 co-operatives within Australia.
UK.COOP – Is operated by Co-operatives UK, the national trade body that campaigns for co-operation and works to promote, develop, and unite co-operative enterprises within the United Kingdom.
NZ.COOP – Is operated by the New Zealand Cooperatives Association, which brings together the country’s co-operative 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 Regional ⁄Local
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, 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 co-operative founded in 1973 by a few dozen individuals who shared a mutual interest in buying healthy 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 Misleading Use
Although Self Storage LLC 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 .STORAGE namespace, Self Storage LLC is committed to operating the .STORAGE namespace 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
Self Storage LLC looks forward to collaborating with other new gTLD registry operators in potentially working with ICANN’s GAC to explore potential processes that could permit the release of initially reserved country names (including ISO-3166 two characters). Specifically, Self Storage LLC 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
Self Storage LLC does not envision any potential disputes from governments or public authorities in connection with the registration and use of geographic names within the .STORAGE gTLD, based upon its proposed use set forth in Answer 18 above.
However, Self Storage LLC 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 .STORAGE.
22.8 Creation and Updating the Policies
Self Storage LLC is also committed to continually reviewing and updating these lists to prevent the misleading use of geographical identifiers. Consistent with this commitment, Self Storage LLC intends to participate in any ongoing ICANN policy discussion regarding the protection of geographic names within the DNS. Should the need arise in the future for the creation or updating of the policies regarding this class of domain names, Self Storage LLC will act in a responsible manner.