M e m o r a n d u m
Date: March 4, 1998
This memorandum serves to document that on March 3, 1998, Mr. Francis Gurry, Legal Council, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) met with Karen Rose and Paula Bruening of the National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA), U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the Department's Request for Public Comment (RFC) on the Improvement of Technical Management of Internet Names and Addresses.
Mr. Gurry call came as part of Dr. Kamir Idris's inaugural visit to Washington DC as Director General of WIPO. Although the purpose of his call was primarily for formal introductions, Mr. Gurry also discussed WIPO's role in dispute resolution under the gTLD-MoU. WIPO continues to work with CORE insofar as the organization works to provide on-line domain name dispute resolution services through the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Center. However, Mr. Gurry stressed that WIPO no longer maintains any governance role or policy making function with respect to POC or CORE. It was also reported that WIPO has opened the use of its on-line system to INternet ONE, a newly established registry for several country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs), and plans to make the system widely available for use by all other interested parties.
Mr. Gurry suggested that some level of uniform procedures for dispute resolution beyond the minimum criteria outlined in the RFC may be necessary to provide a convenient and meaningful alternative to litigation. He continued that in a situation where each registry could maintain different procedures, trademark holders might be forced to tracking multiple disputes across several different processes, causing confusion and uncertainty. Furthermore, the registry with weakest procedures might automatically become a haven for "cyber-squatters". Mr. Gurry suggested that it may be advantageous to implement some minimum, uniform arbitration and perhaps mediation procedures for disputing parties, and said WIPO center would be available as a neutral party to administer such dispute-resolution procedures.
Mr. Gurry was informed that the RFC did not propose more detailed procedures beyond what was written in the document because we found trademark holders quite divided on what those procedures should be. However, as written, the document does not preclude the use of WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center for dispute resolution. He was also told that, since the writing of the document, we have not formulated any further opinion, but expected that comments from interested parties would provide further insight into these complicated issues. Mr. Gurry was thanked for his time and introduction and told that we look forward to reading WIPO's submission to the RFC. Mr. Gurry closed by suggesting we see http://www.arbiter.wipo.int for further information about WIPO's Arbitration and Mediation Center.