Issue 104 | September 8, 2003
ICANN Announces Deployment of Internationalized Domain Names
 On June 20, 2003, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") released its formal announcement on the "Deployment of Internationalized Domain Names" which will allow Internet domain names to include non-ASCII characters in all parts of the world. The announcement is available at http://www.icann.org/announcements/announcement-
. The "Guidelines for the Implementation of Internationalized Domain Names (version 1.0)" were also published today at http://www.icann.org/general/idn-guidelines-20jun03.htm.

The registries for the .cn (China), .jp (Japan), and .tw (Taiwan) country codes, as well as for the .info and .org generic top-level domains, have reportedly committed to adhere to the Guidelines. Other registries seeking to deploy internationalized domain names under their agreements with ICANN must also follow the Guidelines. ICANN's technical requirements for implementing so-called "IDNs" are described in RFCs 3490, 3491, and 3492.

At the August 26, 2003 Joint Workshop on Internationalized Domain Names sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in Bangkok, it quickly became apparent that we still have a long way to go before the new standards become widely deployed and accepted. The non-English speakers that now make up almost 60% of Internet users are likely to confront problems with interoperability, national sovereignty, intellectual property for the forseeable future. Although only twenty-six UDRP decisions involving non-ascii script domain name registrations have been published by the World Intellectual Property Organization so far, that number is expected to grow quickly. And, the complexity of issues like translation, transliteration, and foreign equivalency that are involved in these disputes will also likely to grow as multilingual and foreign character trademarks become more prevalent in the global economy.

For more information on IDNs and what this could mean for your clients' domain name portfolios, please feel free to contact the author Bill Heinze (BillHeinze@tkhr.com) at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley in Atlanta, Georgia USA.

The information contained in this email is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.