Update on Impending Internet Explosion

For the last few years, CanadaFashionLaw has been following the eventual explosion of the internet (specifically Top Level Domains). It appears that the time is drawing near. If you use the internet as part of your marketing or for sales, you need to be aware of this new development.

By way of background, ICANN (the entity that runs the internet) decided that we were fast going to run out of online space. As such, it has opened it up to any entity to operate its own TLD. (A TLD is the “.com” part of a website address.) Until recently there were close to 300 types of TLDs (“.ca”, “.gov”, “.us”, “.org”, etc.) It is reported that close to 1,930 applications have been submitted for new TLDs. For the most part, the TLD applications fall into 3 major categories: (i) generic, such as “.shop”, (ii) geographic, such as “.paris” and (iii) brand-centric, such as “.gucci”. The applications are currently in the review stage and 232 are contentious applications, meaning either that there were multiple applications for the identical TLD or the proposed TLD is confusingly similar to an established brand.

The first batch of TLDs to be released is scheduled for Fall 2013 (although the whole process has experienced delays). These will focus on Internationalized Domain Names – domain names that are in non-latin script. Each launch is slated to have 3 launch phases, which affect when actual domain names can be registered with the new TLD” (i) sunrise, (ii) land rush and (iii) general. The sunrise period is only available to those entities that have registered their recognized trade-marks with the Trademark Clearinghouse.

Interestingly, we will also see a roll out of an alternative domain name dispute proceeding: URS. Like UDRP proceedings, it targets brand owners rights over the internet. Yet it is intended to be an even quicker avenue.

Stay tuned to CanadaFashionLaw for more updates.

If you have any questions on what this all means for your business and how you can prepare yourself, feel free to reach out.

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Government Reviews Canadians’ Online Use

Today, Statistics Canada issued a report on how Canadians used digital technology and the internet in 2012. The results show some interesting trends that may make any business re-think its complete reliance on the brick and mortar retail experience.

Almost $122 billion worth of goods were sold over hte internet last year, a total which has doubled since 2007. This comprises 11% of Canadian sales. Surprisingly, only 45% of Canadian business entities owned/operated a website in 2012. However, if the business entity had 10 or more employees, this amount leaped to 80%. Business-to-consumer industries were most likely to operate a website. Social media platforms were used to compliment web presence.

If you’re interested in reading the full report, click here.

Think Twice Before Hitting “Send”

If you have a strong communications component to your business (and let’s face it, who doesn’t), you’d better take note. Canada is attempting to get rid of all those pesky spam e-mails and text messages through Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”), which is slated to come into effect in 2013.

This new legislation is somewhat contentious as it has been criticized as being too broad and vague, which could detrimentally affect how businesses communicate with their actual and prospective clients. CASL targets “any electronic message” that is sent “for business purposes”, which could extend to e-mails, instant messages, text messages and possibly even Facebook and Twitter messages. As you can see, CASL’s reach could be quite wide!

Generally, if you have an existing business relationship with an entity, your business’ messages won’t be caught by CASL. However, be careful if an official business relationship does not exist. Consent to receive the messages is critical and opt-out clauses are unlikely to suffice.

Stay tuned for developments on this.