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Arguments for Recalling WIPO RFC3 and DNS/TM Resolution

The April 1999 issue of First Monday (volume 4, number 4) is now
available at http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue4_4/ and includes my
paper with some issues  previously copied here, "Arguments for
Recalling WIPO RFC3 and DNS/TM Resolution".

The paper also references previous comments from Nicholas Bohm and
Einar Stefferud, which help provide an intersubjective view. Further,
an abstract model for Internet domain names emerges from the paper,
which may allow conflicting views to be harmonized while retaining
their different separate objectives -- which means that the DNS
naming problems we face today do not need to have an "either/or"


The Internet Domain Name System (DNS) allows a user to associate a
name with a resource on the Internet, such as a machine, an
electronic mail address, or a Web site. Trademarks exist in another,
more traditional, name system which permits a customer to associate a
product name with an enterprise, the mark owner. This paper argues
that DNS names are intersubjective and never objective, while
trademarks are objective and may also be intersubjective. These basic
differences between a DNS name and a trademark name were however
fully ignored by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
report RFC3, which seeks to regulate worldwide Internet domain names
in purely objective terms. This paper further demonstrates that
conflicts between the two naming systems exist in the intersubjective
arena but are less than 0.04% for a typical well-known mark in a
period of nine months. These results suggest that WIPO's RFC3 is
basically flawed in motivation, qualification, and method, so that it
should be recalled in totum. Its application would more probably
cause more difficulties to Internet users and trademark owners than
the few confusing cases it may avoid. A solution to these problems
may be found in digital identity certification or at least origin
authentication. "Business server certificates" - based on
cryptographic challenge-response - can concretely define an objective
business identifier on the Internet and can be used to support
trademark requirements. Other issues such as cybersquatting,
anonymity in DNS registration and tracing and stopping
trademark-infringement sites are also treated in this paper.


Comments are welcome.


Ed Gerck

Dr.rer.nat. E.