International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to ICANN: Blocking “ISO” is unacceptable

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) send a letter to ICANN on the 13th of May 2013 regarding the blocking of the term “ISO” within gTLDs for the International Sugar Organization. The International Organization for Standardization was established in 1947 and is the largest standards developing organization in the world.

In the GAC’s letter to ICANN of 22 March 2013, the GAC advises that IGO acronyms should not be registered by third parties, without IGO consent. The GAC’s list of IGO acronyms included “ISO,” for the International Sugar Organization. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) said that is has very strong concerns with the GAC proposal, and firmly oppose any such block of the acronym “ISO.”

Since the International Organization for Standardization joined the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) IGO-INGO PDP Working Group, they have advocated that certain international organizations (both IGOs and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) with global public missions) need special protection when it comes to battling the increasing potential and impact of cybersquatting. From the start, they stressed the need for objective, non-discriminating criteria by which special protection may be granted while carefully avoiding unduly restricting rights and legitimate interests.

The letter continues to say that “To implement a block on the term “ISO” (requiring its release be permitted by the International Sugar Organization) disregards the longstanding rights and important mission of the International Organization for Standardization. To be frank, this would be unacceptable.“.

Of course they support blocking of terms but only if the blocking protects their organization. If the blocking affects them it is unacceptable. Last time I checked Acronym Finder had 68 meanings for the term ISO and 26 of them are organizations.

“We note that the ICANN Board in its response of 1 April 2013, raised concerns that such a reservation would block the legitimate use of the terms by third parties and deprive other organizations the opportunity to register terms for which they have valid trademarks. You list “ISO” as such a term. We agree and appreciate that you share these concerns.

As such, we request that you;
• Reject the GAC’s proposal of 22 March 2013, and
• Instead support a balanced approach that allows both INGOs and IGOs to benefit from special protections on the basis of objective and non-discriminatory conditions that meaningfully balance coexisting rights and legitimate uses.”

So the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) requests that INGOs should also be able to block registrations for certain terms.

The letter closes with what I see as a legal threat:
“Finally, please be assured that the International Organization for Standardization is prepared to take all necessary steps if its well-known short name is blocked on behalf of another organization.”

So in short either ICANN blocks the term ISO on behalf of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or legal action will follow.

Of course the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) will tell you that their rights are superior to other ISO organizations or companies but there can’t be any superior rights to theirs.

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About Konstantinos Zournas

Konstantinos studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London and lives in Athens, Greece. He works on domain names, websites and software development. Has been online since 1995 & domaining since 2002.

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