ICANN Threatened by Olympic Committee Over Intellectual Property Concerns

The International Olympic Committee appears to think it has the rights to all sport, given a recent letter to ICANN that raises concerns on the .SPORT gTLD proposal in particular, and new gTLDs in general.

A letter from Urs Lacotte, director general of the IOC, and Howard Stupp, the IOC’s Legal Affairs Director, says they wish to discuss with ICANN these issues with ICANN and notes the IOC has “serious concerns” regarding “intellectual property protection.”

The IOC wants Olympic properties added to a list of reserved trademarks and considers “the speculative benefits of unlimited expansion of the domain name system represented by the proposed new gTLDs are outweighed by the risks, harms and costs it poses to trademark owners and the public.” In other words, the IOC considers their concerns paramount when it comes to the domain name system!

The letter also notes the IOC wishes to discuss include ICANN’s structure and operations and concludes saying “these statements should not be taken as a waiver of the IOC’s right to proceed against ICANN for damages resulting to the IOC or the Olympic Movement from the implementation of an unlimited number of new gTLDs.”

The IOC already gets preferential treatment with Network Solutions forbidding any domain registrations with any domain name containing IOC trademarks, according to a Domain Incite report, and has agreements with Sedo, Go Daddy and eBay to withdraw any infringing domain name auctions.

The letter from the IOC to ICANN is available from:
icann.org/correspondence/lacotte-to-beckstrom-16mar10-en.pdf