Domain Name Dispute Resolution and the WTO TRIPS Agreement
WIPO-WTO Colloquium for Teachers of Intellectual Property, 2012
10 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2013
Date Written: November 16, 2012
Despite the close relationship between domain names, intellectual property and trade, domain names are intangible rights that are not expressly protected under the TRIPS Agreement. Nevertheless, domain names have been raising trade concerns for WTO Members, as over 17 free trade agreements that establish provisions on domain name dispute resolution and policy show. The purpose of this paper is to explore to what extent the WTO-TRIPS system has influenced country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) name policies. To answer this question, this paper studies the regulation of ccTLDs in the global trade agreement treaty network post TRIPS Agreement along with the international practice in domain name dispute resolution. It argues that a new standard of domain name dispute resolution is arising. This standard fits well within the framework of Article 41 of the TRIPS Agreement. The impact of this rising standard, however, deserves careful examination.
Keywords: domain names, TRIPS Agreement, alternative dispute resolution, ccTLDs, free trade agreements
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