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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh
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MARQUES 2009: the final day dawns

A trade mark may last forever, if properly managed. In sharp contrast is the MARQUES Annual General Meeting which, if properly managed, should not last longer than 194 seconds, inclusive of time spent asking for the level of the lighting to be raised so that the raised hands of dissentient participants can be more easily perceived.

Following the AGM, but always likely to take a lot more than 194 seconds, was the session on "ICANN and the New gTLD Programme", chaired by Nick Wood (Com Laude), who also did a valuable job in setting the scene and explaining the way in which top-level domains are set to bloom uncontrollably, to the great concern of many. While many in-house IP practitioners despair of this opening-up of the gTLD sector, said Nick, their marketing colleagues in the same businss are generally very enthusiastic. He identified some positive aspects of an expanded system if properly (self)-regulated, for example if a dot-bank gTLD were introduced for internet banks and only properly accredited banks were able to use it.

Nick then considered the issues involved in resolving disputes as to the registration of gTLDs, whether involving brand owner or public interests. ICANN has yet to clarify the consequences of objections too: will they be published, for example, and what will happen in the case of multiple objections to the same gTLD? He explained ICANN proposals for an IP clearing house, to save brand owners having to deposit the same details of their rights with many different domain name registries, and for a uniform rapid suspension scheme for active websites that infringe IP rights.
Next to speak was ICANN's Karla Valente (another billed speaker, Bart Lieben of Laga, was struck down by illness: get well soon, Bart!). Karla's pre-ICANN background was in brand protection, so she has a first-hand understanding of the pain felt by brand owners over the new gTLDs. The best way for IP interests to express their position was by participating with ICANN's processes; indeed, IP interests are represented in its Board of Directors. Karla explained the evolution and continued development of gTLDs, particularly in the light of the desire of the Chinese, the Arabs and others to have their own language on the right hand side of the dot.

Left: an excited applicant awaits the dot-dog domain

Karla's message was a positive one: the new scheme must be understood as a set of opportunities and as establishing a new set of conditions in which businesses can deploy their brands. ICANN is also examining overarching issues such as increased measures to combat malicious conduct, as well as security and stability of the system. A voluntary high security certification service is also under consideration.

Following this session, the annual Lewis Gaze Memorial Prizes were awarded. The prize winners this year are Colm Maguire, Rasmus Laustsen and Sasha Yelnik. All prize winners receive a year's subscription to the European Trade Mark Reports; the first prize winner additionally receives a year's electronic subscription to the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice.

Posted by: Blog Administrator @ 09.44
Tags: MARQUES conference 2009,
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MARQUES does not guarantee the accuracy of the information in this blog. The views are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of MARQUES. Seek professional advice before action on any information included here.

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