ICANN’s New Trademark ‘Clearinghouse’ Resembles Mobsters’ ‘Insurance’ Program

From Mike Masnick at http://www.techdirt.com:

from the nice-trademark-you’ve-got-here,-wouldn’t-want-anything-to-happen-to-it dept

We’ve pointed out for years that ICANN’s new “top level domains” programs often feel much more like a way to shake down trademark holders who feel the need to buy each and every new domain with their trademarked names, just to prevent anyone else from getting them. Now, ICANN has taken this a step further, streamlining the process by launching a “trademark clearinghouse” in which companies can register a trademark and get early access to “buy” all of the new top level domains with their mark before they reach the open market. Of course, “supporters” are pushing companies to join… and the pitch really does sound like your typical mob shakedown:

The clearinghouse “doesn’t necessarily prevent trademark infringement or cybersquatting, but it does help trademark owners and brand owners somewhat in mitigating the damage that might occur,” he added. “We’ve been telling brand owners it’s not that expensive to protect themselves and they ought to do it.”

I mean, paying the local mob boss “doesn’t necessarily prevent anyone from breaking your windows, but it does help in mitigating the likelihood that damage might occur.” And “it’s not that expensive to protect yourself, so you ought to do it.”

Hmmm. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

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