Jul 032014

VineyardThe battle for the Internet’s .VIN and .WINE just took a new turn with a statement by seven American wine producing regions against the proposed release of the terms “vin” (wine in French) and “wine” as Internet suffixes (TLDs) by the sector’s technical coordinator ICANN.

Regions such as Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Barbara are voicing the same concerns the government of France raised at ICANN’s 50th International meeting in London last week.

“If granted to unscrupulous bidders, second-level domain names such as napavalley.wine or wallawalla.wine could be held in perpetuity by a company or individual that has never seen a vineyard, cultivated fine wine grapes or made a single bottle of wine,” says a statement released by the regions.

There are 3 applicants in contention for .WINE. However .VIN was only applied for by one company, new TLD specialist Donuts. France has been asking for geographical denominations, which are protected by French law but do not enjoy the same recognition at international level, to be included in the rights protection mechanisms that were designed for ICANN’s new gTLD program.

But no consensus for the French position was found in the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), the ICANN body which groups government representatives. As long as it is united in opposing any proposed new Internet suffix, the GAC enjoys veto power over that suffix. So the GAC has not come out in formal opposition to the wine-related suffixes.

Absent any formal, and united, governmental veto, ICANN has therefore decided to proceed with the applications for .VIN and .WINE.