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Dot-sport decision sparks controversy

James Nurton, Ljubljana

Famous Four Media, an applicant for the gTLD .sport, has lost a determination based on community rights under Icann’s new gTLD programme

In a decision published this week and dated October 23, panellist Guido Tawil upheld a complaint filed by SportAccord (which has a competing application for .sport).

SportAccord claimed to be an established international representative institution of the sport community, comprising 107 international sports federations and other organisations.

It argued that the sport community was targeted by Famous Four’s .sport gTLD and that the community’s rights and legitimate interests would suffer material detriment.

Tawil decided that, even though SportAccord may not represent the entire sports community "it acts for a preponderant part of such community" and that its membership "is accessible to any organization" complying with its minimum standards.

He also found that the sport community "is a community that clearly distinguishes itself from other communities by its characteristics, objectives and values and is therefore "clearly delineated".

Famous Four, based in Gibraltar, has applied to run 61 gTLDs. In a statement, the company said the decision "strikes right at the heart of the concept of freedom of expression" and confirms concerns that "the community objection process could be hijacked by competing applicants".

"Famous Four Media is disappointed that the Panellist fails entirely to take into account that he objector is a competing applicant merely trying to game the system, and avoid the more rigid scrutiny of the Community Priority Evaluation process," it added.

So far, nine community objections have been determined. As Managing IP recently reported, a complaint filed by the US Polo Association against Ralph Lauren’s application for .polo was upheld.

A complaint against an applications for .architect has been successful but complaints against .fly, .gay, .halal, .islam, persiangulf, .reisen and .shop were all rejected.

For more comment on the .sport case, see blog posts on The Domains, Domain Incite and Domain Name Wire.

According to the determination, neither party used outside counsel in the case.



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