The French government with the support of the UK, Spain and European Commission is leading calls to ICANN to halt the release of two new gTLDs .wine and .vin.
Axelle Lemaire, France’s minister for digital affairs argued the release of the new .wine domain names could allow a company to purchase geographic web addresses such as champagne.wine or bordeaux.wine and sell wine under these labels, undermining international trade agreements that protect geographic and region-specific wine names.
These trade agreements, for example, ensure sparkling wine can only be labelled as Champagne if it originates from the Champagne region of France.
In the past year ICANN has released hundreds of new domain names such as .guru, .academy and .photography, providing companies and institutions across the world an opportunity to register a web address specifically tailored to their product or target market.
ICANN does possess measures to protect and block specific domain names from being registered. With talks taking place this week over the way ICANN is governed, it remains to be seen if France’s opposition to .wine domain names is simply a way of gaining political capital in these discussions or is a genuine concern.
Let us know your thoughts. Tweet us @domainsfoundry