FIGHT OPENS OVER ‘CLOSED GENERIC’ DOMAINS — Should firms like Goodyear be able to own a domain name like .tire and keep it only for itself? That’s the question now being mulled by leaders of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which has opened a discussion over the idea of “closed generic” domain names — common words corporation have applied for to be new domains but may not make available for others to use. A public comment period, which closes March 7, is in advance of its meeting in Beijing in April. Microsoft has written ICANN executives a letter raising such questions.  The discussion may affect potential brand names and many other words that have been applied for as part of ICANN’s expansion of Internet domains — .app, .book, etc.

–POTENTIAL COMPETITION ISSUES: The issue has “direct implications for the competitive landscape of the Internet going forward,” said Philip Corwin, founding principal of Virtualaw, who has one client who is competing with Google for some of the terms. Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice and policy chair for the ICANN business constituency, said there is a “legitimate concerns about competition and potential confusion for consumers if a single competitor has perpetual control of a generic keyword as a top-level domain.”