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WIPO Internet Domain Name Process

Transcripts - part 1: San Francisco regional consultation

Fairchild Auditorium, Stanford University
September 23, 1998

23 September29 September1 October6 October7 October13 October19 October22 October22 October1 November4 November
San Francisco, California,
Washington, DC,
Mexico City,

(Spanish only)
Cape Town,
South Africa

(Spanish only)


Professor John Barton (Stanford Law School):

Mr. Muls, Mr. Gibson and Mr. Salmon, distinguished members of the group of experts, I am John Barton from Stanford Law School and my function here is to simply call us to order and to welcome everybody on behalf of the law school and to rejoice in the fact that this is happening here. This is a very historic occasion, we are seeing the Internet which at one point was governed albeit and anarchically pretty much within the United States, but very much a global entity, we are seeing it in the process of internationalizing and we have here a group of experts created from around the world by membership internationalization to hold a hearing, to help solve one of the sets of problems that is going to be associated with the global Internet in the future.

This is the first time that I know of such a group being organized or commissioned on such a task. So, this is indeed a historic occasion, both for the Internet and for the course and structure and role of international organizations. It is a special honor for Stanford Law School to be involved in this. We are of course hopeful that we have a special role in as much as the Internet was in significant part, not entirely of course, but in significant part a California and Bay area and Stanford invention. But now, we are in a situation in which the Stanford Law School I hope can go into some expertise to deal with this set of issues in the future. So, Stanford is honored to be the host for this first hearing. With that welcome, let me wish the group well in its work, welcome you again and turn the presentation over to Mr. Gibson who will explain the precise role of the panel and the group of experts. Thank you.

Mr. Christopher Gibson (Head, Electronic Commerce Section, WIPO):

Good morning also, and I would like first of all thank Stanford University and the Law and Technology Policy Centre for hosting us here today, and in particular Professor John Barton and Connie Jensen who have been very helpful in organizing this meeting and in publicizing it here, right here in Silicon Valley. As most of you know, WIPO has convened an international process to address the intellectual property issues that are associated with domain names and also the related dispute resolution issues. The genesis of this process is the US Government's request in the so-called "White Paper" on June 5. They made a specific request to WIPO to carry out such a process. They suggested that there should be three aspects to be addressed. One would be to develop a uniform approach to resolving trademark and domain name disputes. Second, to recommend a process for protecting famous trademarks on the Internet. And third, to evaluate and coordinate with studies that will be assessing the effects of adding generic top-level domains and also related dispute resolution procedures to evaluate the effects of those things on trademark holders and intellectual property rights holders. Now, WIPO, about the beginning of July went ahead with this process. As of two weeks ago at our Assembly of Member States, WIPO with its more than 170 member states had this process formally approved. What we have done to convene this process thus far is to establish a web site which most of you have probably seen, where information is posted, where comments can be received, where we will provide updates on the progress that we are making. This web site also has a registration facility for those that indicate that they want to participate in this process. As it now stands we have received over 550 registrations to participate from persons or entities in more than 50 countries. So, we think this is a good sign that people are in fact tuning in to this issue.

You also probably know that we have posted the WIPO Request for Comments No.1, (WIPO RFC-1). This document was to start the process to address what should be the proper scope of the issues that we would be studying. What would be the appropriate terms of reference for this process. This document received approximately 65 comments with 15 coming from governments, and those comments came from more than 20 different countries or jurisdictions. We also, as you know, constituted an international and sectorally representative panel of experts trying to reflect Internet, intellectual property and public interest backgrounds. We have here today with us 6 of the 13 experts that we have appointed thus far. Let me say that this is a very, very important aspect of the process that we have. It has been a slow going aspect to appoint experts. We have heard from governments, from international organizations and of course directly from various interest groups or entities in the private sector on who we should help or who we should appoint to this panel of experts. Our goal, as I said, has been to make it an internationally representative panel and also a panel that reflects the various background and expertise that would be relevant to assist those in the task that we have.

Let me go ahead and introduce those who are here today with us. First of all, we have Ken Fockler at the far end of the table who is the former chair and president of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, from Canada. Next to him, we have Laina Greene, she is an Advisory Panel Member for the Asia and Pacific Internet Association and is also Chair of the Asia Pacific Policy and Legal Forum from Singapore We have Don Heath towards the middle, President of the Internet Society from the United States. We have Frederick Mostert, who is President of the International Trademark Association from South Africa. We have Mark Partridge who is Chair of the Professional Programs Committee, and soon to be, I believe, a director of the American Intellectual Property Law Association from the United States. We also have with us Oscar Robles Garay from Mexico. He is an alternate to Oscar Schnajder who is a member of the panel. Oscar is Chair of the Registration Facility for .mx, for Mexico. I can mention also some other experts who are not with us today but who will also be with us at the other meetings that we are putting together. We have Harold Alvestrand from Norway, he is an Area Director for Operations and Management of the IETF, the Internet Engineering Task Force. We have Santiago Bustermenti from Equador, he is President of the Inter-American Industrial Property Association. Dr. Isham El Sherif is from Egypt. He is Chairman of the Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Centre. Dr. Ousmane Kane is from Senegal. He is Executive Director of the African Regional Centre for Technology. Mr. Boudewjin Nederkoorn is from the Netherlands. He is Chair of the RIPE Center. Mr. Kensuke Norichika is from Japan, and is Executive Director of the Software Information Centre in Japan. And Ms. Maryse Philbert is from France and is Director of the Trademarks Department at Synthelabo. We also have one or two names that we are finalizing at the moment. As most of you also know, we have also posted what we are referring to as WIPO Requests for Comments No. 2 (WIPO RFC-2). That is the document that lists out the issues that we are addressing in this process and asks for comments on those issues.

The purpose of this process is to do a number of things. First of all, to bring a new focus to the intellectual property issues associated with domain names. Second, to provide an international and neutral forum in which all interested parties may participate in the process. Third, to achieve consensus on the intellectual property issues associated with Internet domain names and finally, to produce a set of recommendations that will go to the new corporation that is currently being formed. Let me just say a word about that very briefly. As most of you know there is a new corporation that is being formed. It is a parallel process to what we are doing here today. As we view it, we are supplementing what is going on there, but this process addresses a discreet set of issues. The intellectual property issues that are associated with Internet domain names. We are not addressing here governance issues, the structure of the new corporation, the representation that might be found in that new corporation. But we will be looking forward to working very closely with the new corporation once it is formed.

We have scheduled and planned now a very aggressive set of meetings. They will take place around the world in 11 different countries. Most of you may have seen the locations. This is the first of those meetings. I think it is quite appropriate as Professor Barton said that we hold our first meeting right here in Silicon Valley. The second meeting is in Brussels, coming up very soon September 29th. We have a meeting in Washington DC on October 1, Mexico City on October 5th, Cape Town South Africa on October 7, Ascension, Paraguay on October 13th, Tokyo Japan on October 19th, Hydrebad, India on October 22nd, Budapest, Hungary also on October 22nd, Cairo, Egypt, November 1st and Sydney Australia on November 4th. So, as you can see we have tried to move at remarkable speed for an international organization to bring out this first set of consultation meetings. This is what we consider to be the first phase of our work. To spread the word and also to hear from all of those that want to submit comments on these issues. Our immediate goal is to produce an interim report. This interim report is scheduled to come out at the beginning of December. There will be a second round of meetings, I don't think there will be as many as 11, but we will have a second round of meetings where we will ask people to comment on the interim report that is produced as well. So, those meetings would take place in January and February of 1999. All of this with the goal of producing a report by, right now we are looking at March of 1999.

I wanted to just say also something about the fundamentals of the process that we have tried to put together. I have already mentioned the goals. A fundamental as we try to put this together was to a design a very robust process. Obviously, this issue of domain names has been discussed in certain places for two years and there has been quite a lively discussion I would think. We thought that in process we designed, we have to try and guarantee the widest possible participation, that everyone has an opportunity to come forward and make their views known. So, that is the very first fundamental that we thought about. Broadest possible participation reflecting geographical coverage and participation by the different sectors, the Internet specialists, the public interest communities and the trademark sector. Also, all relevant information is provided through the Internet as well as by physical means. Everything that we post on the Internet we also provide by mail to our member states and to the NGOs, the non-governmental organizations that are accredited with the organization. We know that in certain parts of the world the technology does not match what you have right here in Silicon Valley and we work to make sure that this information is provided to all those places.

Third, we are holding these regional meetings so that interested parties really do have access to the process. These proceedings are being held in three languages; English, French and Spanish. Our web site is available in those three languages. At certain meetings we will have the interpretations services so that all of this can be facilitated. We know finally, that we need to proceed very quickly but also independently. There has been some work done on these issues. There are models out there. All of those things will be taken into account, but we will begin anew as it were to address these issues and determine what would be the best possible results with the assistance of these experts. I have mentioned I believe the timetable. We have an interim report that will come out in December and we are looking for a final report to come out in March 1999.

Let me also say something briefly about WIPO. Most of you know its a UN specialized agency. As I mentioned, there are more than 170 Member States currently. It administers more than 20 intellectual property treaties. The newest of those for example, the WIPO Copyright Treaty was adopted in 1996. The organization as a whole is addressing in a very serious way all of the issues, the intellectual property issues that are growing out of the area of electronic commerce. And this is one example of some of the things that we are doing in this area. We also have a New York liaison office now. The office is established there with a staff of professionals to liaise with the UN itself, but also to be a contact point for the private sector in the United States. We have Paul Salmon, my colleague with me here today, who works in that office and would be happy to follow-up with all of you, as would I or David Muls, my other colleague if you have questions or need additional information at any time about this process.

Finally, let me say something about the meeting dynamics today and then I am going to turn it over to David Muls who is going to help us structure how we go forward. What we have by the way, are copies of some of the documents that I mentioned here already, the WIPO RFC2. Some other documents are at the table. The purpose of this meeting is to gather information, is to have people come forward and express their views on any of the issues that were listed in WIPO RFC2. We have already had a number of people pre-register to speak here today. Some of them have been given specific time slots. For example, in the afternoon and they may not come in until that time. A number of those of you are here right now and what we are going to try to do is to set up an order so that those who want to come forward we have two microphones, can go to a microphone and make your statement. The role of the panel here today is to hear your views and also if necessary to ask questions that would clarify or respond to your statements, so that we understand your point of view, the issues that you are raising, how you think those issues should be approached. So this is an information gathering meeting. It is also a meeting that would be obviously educational to those of us that are here today. This is the purpose of all these meetings. We are going to make an effort to make sure that everyone starts to understand what’s at stake with domain names, with the Internet and with the intellectual property issues. So, what I will do now is ask David to come up here and talk to those of you who have already indicated that you wanted to make a statement. We can proceed at a regular pace but what we are hoping is that statements would go no longer than fifteen minutes, with a few minutes afterwards for questions by the Panel or to the Panel and that is how we are going to proceed.

David Muls (Senior Legal Officer, WIPO):

If you will allow me to turn to some house-keeping matters and as you know from the documents that you may have read, there are basically three ways that one can participate in these meetings. On the one hand, the person can make a presentation, a more formal presentation of his views on the issues raised in the RFCs. Secondly, a person may participate in the open discussion that we will have in this meeting and thirdly, a person may just attend and witness what’s going on without any active involvement. I would propose that we start today and we try to give the presentations first. As just said, we suggest that our presenters have a maximum of fifteen minutes to present their statement and five minutes for the panel to ask any questions. What I propose to do is to go through the list of speakers and mention the names the affiliations and their specified speaking times. There are ten persons that have specifically indicated that they wanted to make a formal presentation. Of the ten, eight have specified a desired speaking time and two have not. I would propose to the extent possible that speakers take a flexible attitude towards their speaking time, because otherwise there might be gaps in between. So, I will first mention the persons who have not indicated a speaking time. There are two. The first person is Mr. Dan Cohen, President of Clear Thinking Technology, is Mr. Cohen here please? Second person is Mr. Eric Robison who is President and CEO of Clue Computing Incorporated. Is Mr. Robison here please? Now, in order of specified speaking time, the speakers are the following: Mr. Robert Connelly of the Council of Registrars at 10.10, but I would hope that we can move forwards quickly, Mr. Michael Bosworth of Oppenheimer Wolff & Dunnelly at 11.05, Mrs. Shelley Hebert of the Director of Business Development of Stanford University, desired speaking time 11.30. The persons who have indicated that they wish to speak at a later time who are not present yet will come later. Mr. Neil Smith in the law firm of Limbach & Limbach. Mr. Gregory Phillips, Attorney for Porsche, Porsche AG and Porsche cars North America, 2.30. Ms. Sally Abel representing Inter, International Trademark Association at 3 p.m. Mr. Nils Montan, Senior Intellectual Property Counsel of Warner Brothers at 3.30. Ms. Anne Gundelfinger, Managing Attorney Trademarks and Brands of Intel Corporation at 4.30. I would suggest that we move forward. At the moment the first speaker who is on the list is Mr. Robert Connelly and if you wish to go to the microphone.