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Patricia O'Connell
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David Weslow Discusses Wine Producers’ Concerns about Proposed Top-Level Domains

Bloomberg BNA’s Electronic Commerce & Law Report
September 12, 2013

David E. Weslow, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Intellectual Property Practice, spoke with Bloomberg BNA’s Electronic Commerce & Law Report for an article yesterday on wine producers’ concerns that two proposed Internet domains—.wine and .vin—could harm their industry.

The .wine and .vin proposals are among 1,930 top-level domain (TLD) applications the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has received as it works to expand the Internet’s address system.  While the current system has long included 22 domain-name suffixes such as .com and .gov, the expanded system will encompass as many as 1,400 new TLDs.

The applicants seeking to administer the .wine and .vin domains are not in the wine-making business.  Trade groups representing wine producers in Napa Valley and Europe are concerned that the two domains, if approved, will become havens for counterfeiters and cybersquatters, according to the article.  The groups are urging ICANN to reject the .wine and .vin TLDs, at least until the applicants agree to provide additional protections for the wine industry.

“The recent calls by several wine associations for added mandatory protections in new TLDs are not surprising in that many industries are now engaged in specific planning for new TLDs, and through this process have become familiar with, and dismayed by, the status quo,” Mr. Weslow told Bloomberg BNA.

Mr. Weslow—who represents a number of companies pursuing or opposing particular new TLD applications—noted that ICANN was recently advised by its Governmental Advisory Committee “to take better account of community views, and improve outcomes for communities.”  That advice, depending on ICANN’s response, may provide newly engaged industries with a new mechanism for advocacy, he said.

The Bloomberg BNA article featuring Mr. Weslow’s comments can be read here.