The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) and its potential impact on right holders’ access to full WHOIS data has been a very topical issue for our clients. We have been carefully monitoring the discussion and proposals surrounding this issue, from a company perspective and as part of ICANN’s Intellectual Property Constituency, the IAPP recent Global Privacy Summit, INTA, and from listening, as always, to our clients. The requirements and interpretation of the GDPR and the ability to continue to access full, publicly available information through the WHOIS system is under review by ICANN. At the recent ICANN 61 meeting in San Juan, it became clear that a resolution to this issue will not be imminent.
The need and right to access and use this information for legitimate interests by intellectual property and trademark owners in enforcing rights against third-party alleged infringers of trademarks and content or in relation to bad faith domain registration, is the essential issue to us. ICANN published an Interim Compliance Model and a “Cookbook” to arrive at possible solutions to the WHOIS access issues. Nonetheless, there is substantial conflict amongst interest groups and gaps in the ICANN Interim Model regarding key elements including, layered/tiered access and the establishment of an accreditation program (with a lack of agreement on the enforcement body and process for the proposed, author-supported, accreditation program). Due to this present conflict in resolution drivers, there will likely be a blackout period, which is due to subsist for six months or more, with the possibility that the accreditation program will not be in place until Q1 2019.
This is a bleak situation for IP right holders and their policing needs, but at Corsearch we are at the forefront in finding solutions. We are committed to, focused on, and leaders in compliance under the GDPR and all privacy laws, and as a certified privacy professional, the GC and DPO at Corsearch, and Brian, as the Director of Digital Brand Solutions, we are intent on being a conduit to all advancements and issues in this ever-important arena to support Corsearch and our clients. Due to this focus and knowing that right holders have legitimate interests in assessing information that allows them to protect their intellectual property, we have identified new strategies to enable the diligent and legitimate policing and protection of rights during this likely blackout. Through the Corsearch Domain Vigilance Platform, we will help you (through one-on-one trainings, webinars, and/or Domain Vigilance Search Reports) analyze, determine, and identify potential third-party infringers, by doing the following:
- Assessing the usage of marks within domain string analysis;
- Assessing common ownership through the patterning of non-personally identifiable data;
- Tracking domain creation, expiration, and modification dates;
- Tracking name servers and analyzing data analytic tags and IP addresses; and
- Analysis of website content for similarity patterns.
Based on these, among other practical and proprietary strategies and technical enhancements to our platform, we have found solutions for clients and right holders, so that they are able to continue to vigilantly and legitimately monitor third parties who they have reason to believe are infringing, damaging their IP rights, and/or possibly putting business interests at risk. We are here to help.
Please contact Corsearch about these services and/or requested trainings at corsearch.com or 1-800-732-7241.