Senniger, Powers, Leavitt & Roedel
One Metropolitan Square
St. Louis, Missouri 63102
Mr. Michael M. Roberts
Dear Mr. Roberts:
Our firm represents Economic Solutions, Inc. (ESI) in intellectual property matters. On September 26, 2000 we sent you a letter addressing our client's objection to the granting of either ".biz" or ".bus" top level domains (TLDs). It has come to our client's attention, after visiting your website, that several applications for TLDs proposed a TLD of ".biz" or ".ebiz." In addition to objecting to the granting of a ".biz" or ".bus" TLD, our client also objects to ICANN granting a ".ebiz" TLD as it would substantially damage the rights of ESI in their right to market the ".bz" TLD.
As we mentioned in our previous letter, ESI owns exclusive rights to market the ".bz" country code TLD identifier which it contractually obtained from the government of Belize. ESI has subsequently expended considerable money and effort in its preparations and marketing of the ".bz" TLD as a domain name and has filed numerous trademark applications playing off the phonetic pronunciation of "bz" as "BIZ" and the use of ".bz" in connection with conducting business over the Internet.
ICANN's consideration and approval of an application for a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD would create confusion among Internet users, interfere with the rights of ESI, and would cause substantial damage to our client's rights and good will for the same reasons as were outlined in our September 26, 2000 letter. Furthermore, approval of a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD would be contrary to ICANN's Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals, dated 15 August 2000, in light of the existing ".bz" TLD owned by the country of Belize and ESI's plan to target and license domain names under the ".bz" registry to businesses.
The introduction of a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD would create substantial confusion among Internet users attempting to access domain names registered with either the ".biz," ".ebiz," or ".bz" registries. The present applications for ".biz" and ".ebiz" specify an intent to target and license domain names to businesses. Due to the similar pronunciations and business connotations associated with ".biz," ".ebiz," and ".bz", Internet users would be confused as to which TLD must be used to locate a business related resource.
The existence of a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD would also substantially interfere with the value of the ".bz" TLD and the existing rights of the country of Belize and ESI in their utilization of the ".bz" TLD as businesses would be hesitant to license a domain name from a registrar that is likely to confuse Internet users. In addition, it is anticipated that ESI's trademark rights would also be substantially damaged by the marketing of a ".biz" or ".ebiz" registrar due to the similarity of services and the similar spellings of ".biz," ".ebiz," and ESI's marks or similar pronunciation of ".biz," ".ebiz," and ".bz." Thus, approval of a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD would cause substantial damage to ESI's contractual rights, good will, and trademark rights due to the likelihood of confusion that would be created.
Aside from the direct damage to Belize and ESI, a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD would not benefit the stability of the Internet as advocated in ICANN's Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals. As ".bz" is the existing TLD owned by Belize, the introduction of a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD would threaten the existence of Belize's globally unique public name space by creating confusion among Internet users. Since a ".biz" or ".ebiz" registrar would market domain names to the same customers, its co-existence with the ".bz" registrar would also diminish the value of domain names registered with either the ".biz," ".ebiz," or ".bz" registrars. This diminished value would make it difficult for either ".biz," ".ebiz," or ".bz" registrars to successfully compete against other TLD registrars, thereby frustrating ICANN's overall objective for expanding the list of generic TLDs in a manner which preserves the stability of the Internet.
A ".biz"' or ".ebiz," TLD also would not benefit the Internet community or sensibly enhance the domain name system (DNS) as identified in the Criteria for Assessing TLD Proposals. Since a ".biz" or ".ebiz" registrar would likely target the same businesses and provide similar services as ESI, it would only duplicate what is already available under the ".bz" registrar rather than create distinctive services for the diversity of needs of Internet users and enhance the DNS. Thus, a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD would not meet any needs which are not already met by the existing ".bz" registry.
On behalf of ESI, we insist that the Abacus America, Inc., Affinity Internet, Inc., iDomains, Inc., KDD Internet Solutions Co., Ltd., and JVTeam, L.L.C. applications for ".biz" and the Affinity Internet, Inc. and iDomains, Inc. applications for ".ebiz" be rejected for the aforementioned reasons and the reasons outlined in our September 26, 2000 letter. Please let us have your written assurances by November 3, 2000 that a ".biz" or ".ebiz" TLD will not be approved as a new generic TLD.
We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, please call. We appreciate your assistance in resolving this matter.
Anthony R. Kinney
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