Why did you apply for .Amazon?

We’re excited about the opportunity for innovation that the new gTLDs have presented, and filed applications for many of our key company brands. For example, customer security could be significantly improved by customers knowing the URL ends with “.amazon”. We have been using "Amazon" as a trademark for 20 years all over the world with over 2400 registrations in 170 countries including Brazil and Peru. Amazon also owns almost 26,000 second-level domain names containing the AMAZON brand, including the domain names amazon.com, amazon.pe, and amazon.com.br (at which we have a live operating website for our customers in Brazil). In fact, neither Brazil nor Peru, the two objecting countries, have registered intellectual property rights in the term “amazon” and there is no basis in international law for either country to assert rights in the term “amazon.” So, we believe that based on the rules set by the ICANN community, and supported by international trademark law, our use of the .AMAZON gTLD should be allowed.

Did Amazon apply only for .BRAND TLDs?

No. We applied for 76 gTLDs, the vast majority of which are “generic” TLDs. As of today, we’ll be operating at least 52 gTLDs.

Why did Amazon apply for so many new gTLDs?

New gTLDs provide an opportunity for innovation. We’re looking forward to using our TLDs to surprise and delight our customers globally.

Did Amazon have any reason to think its .AMAZON applications wouldn’t succeed?

  • Amazon submitted applications based on a community-created process.
  • We followed the rules set forth in the Applicant Guidebook. We received perfect scores on our applications – there were no deficiencies identified.
  • We passed ICANN's evaluation process, including a determination by ICANN’s own Geographic Names Panel that “amazon” is not a geographic name that is prohibited from being a TLD or that requires governmental approval.
  • We successfully defended against a formal Community Objection filed by the ICANN-appointed Independent Objector.
  • Our application should have been allowed, just like any other applicant who passed ICANN’s evaluation process.

What has Amazon done to resolve this issue?

We have attempted to negotiate with the governments and the treaty organization involved for more than six years. We have engaged extensively with representatives of Brazil and Peru and ICANN leadership in an attempt to find an amicable solution. We’ve promptly responded to all requests from ACTO and ICANN. We remain committed to an amicable solution that safeguards the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region while promoting its global visibility.

What practical solutions have Amazon offered?
Amazon remains willing to make public interest commitments and has made several offers that have been documented in various presentations and Board Resolutions. Amazon continues to work with interested parties to find an amicable solution that allows for commercial use of the TLD while safeguarding the culture and heritage of the Amazonia region.

How can Amazon’s applications be legally justified?

  • We have 2532 trademark registrations in 172 countries globally for trademarks that contain or consist of AMAZON. Article 16(1) of TRIPS gives the owner of a registered trademark certain exclusive rights in that mark.
  • We have 17 trademark registrations for the word marks AMAZON and AMAZON.COM in Peru, including 13 marks registered no later than the year 2000.
  • In Brazil, we own 51 word mark registrations that contain the word AMAZON, including three trademark registrations for AMAZON and four trademark registrations for AMAZON.COM, one of which was filed in 1997 and registered in 2002.
  • In Argentina, we have a combined 34 trademark registrations for the word marks AMAZON, and AMAZON.COM. More than one-half of those registrations (20) were based on trademark applications filed in Argentina in the year 2000.
  • We own seven trademark registrations in Greece for word marks that contain the word AMAZON, including AMAZON and AMAZON.COM. The first such registration was obtained in 2001.
  • There is “no international consensus that recognizes inherent governmental rights in geographic terms.”[1]
  • The governments of Brazil and Peru have no legally recognized trademark rights in AMAZON (Art. 16(1) of TRIPS); have no legally recognized trade name rights in AMAZON (Art. 8 of the Paris Convention[2]); have not protected AMAZON as an official name or insignia (Art. 6ter of Paris Convention); have no legally recognized unfair competition rights in the term Amazon (Arts. 10 & 10 bis of Paris Convention); have not protected and have not sought to protect AMAZON as a geographical denomination (Paris Convention and other treaties[3]); have no legally recognized regulatory rights in AMAZON; and there is no consensus under international law that sovereign rights over boundaries extend to country names – let alone names of sub-regions or physical features such as rivers.

Some make the claim that .AMAZON belongs to the countries of the people of the Amazonas region. How do you respond?
  • As a global corporation reliant on our brand name, the ultimate outcome of .AMAZON is important to our customers and our company. It is our global house brand, recognized as one of the world’s most trusted brands, worldwide. Throughout this process, we have worked to find a mutually acceptable solution to the use of .AMAZON, and we will continue to seek an outcome that allows Amazon to use our brand as a gTLD, that prevents customer confusion and potential misuse, all the while properly respecting the importance of the Amazonas region and its people. We continue to believe it's possible to find that proper balance and believe that doing so is in the best interest of all concerned.
  • The IRP Panel recognized that Amazon’s use of the TLD would not be prejudicial or lead to harm because: no entity from the region applied for .amazon, we have used our trademark for years in that region without harm or confusion, and equally evocative strings exist.

How did those objecting justify their claims against your applications?

  • Objecting governments claimed that our use of .AMAZON “would prevent the use of this domain for purposes of public interest related to the protection, promotion and awareness raising on issues related to the Amazon biome.”
    • ICANN’s rules assert that deprivation of future use is not a material reason for denial.
    • The ICC independent expert, the Expert report commissioned by ICANN, and our favorable IRP decision, dismissed this:
      • No one else applied for .Amazon;
      • Our existing trademarks and domain name have not caused any harm; and
      • Amazonas and Amazonia are sufficient substitutes.
  • During GAC deliberations, the Peruvian GAC representative informed those present that “Amazon” in English is also a city in Guyana. There is no such city. Further, Peru also claimed that “Amazon” was on an International Standards Organization (“ISO”) list, specifically ISO 3166-2, so .AMAZON could not be delegated without evidence of governmental support or non-objection. “Amazon” is not listed on any ISO 3166 list. Peru further represented, without citing to any specifics or producing any documents, that “…unanimously, all Amazon countries and all Amazon provinces, departments, and local governments have expressed, in writing, their rejection to dot amazon.” ICANN itself admitted in our IRP that they knew the information Peru was sharing was incorrect.
  • The governments asserted legal rights to the name “.amazon” under international law. An independent expert found no such right. The IRP Panel found no such right.
  • Brazil and Peru also asserted that they objected to the applied-for string .amazon because it matched one of the words, in English, used by the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization. The IRP Panel found that a one word match is not likely to be misleading and is not a plausible public policy reason for an objection.

I’m confused. Did the IRP Panel decide unanimously in Amazon’s favor or split 2-1 in Amazon’s favor?

The IRP Panel unanimously agreed that (i) ICANN’s Board, acting through the NGPC, acted in a manner inconsistent with ICANN’s Bylaws; and (ii) ICANN’s Board should promptly re-evaluate the .AMAZON Applications and make an independent determination of whether there are “well-founded, merits-based public policy reasons” for denying the .AMAZON Applications. One Panelist, who ICANN appointed, agreed with the outcome, but disagreed with part of the reasoning so he submitted a concurring and partially dissenting opinion. (ICANN had appointed that Panelist to two other IRPs. Our IRP was the first one in which he found in favor of the gTLD applicant.)

Why were all of the IRP Panelists US nationals?

IRP proceedings operate under the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce. Under those rules, Amazon and ICANN each selected a Panelist and those Panelists jointly selected the third Panelist, who became the Chair of the Panel. ICANN could have selected a non-US Panelist, and chose not to do so.

What are the implications for the multistakeholder approach if ICANN does not abide by its bylaws and the Applicant Guidebook?

  •  Such an outcome will prove the point of the IANA transition skeptics. It is vital that ICANN demonstrate that its accountability reforms are sufficient to overcome political complaints of governments. The adopted reforms promised to make ICANN a stronger structure, providing stakeholders confidence that the community-based rules will be followed and that mechanisms will be in place to correct errors. This is the time for ICANN to act transparently and prove it is accountable.
  • From a purely business perspective, companies will find it increasingly difficult to plan and innovate if a stable and predictable multistakeholder approach is repeatedly interrupted by political considerations.
  • Globally, hundreds (if not thousands) of brands have names similar to regions, land formations, mountains, towns, cities, and other geographic places, and the uncertainty of ICANN’s protection of geographic names will deter these potential .BRAND applicants.

What will Amazon do if the Board does not approve the .AMAZON Applications?

We continue to carefully consider all options with regard to protecting our global brand.

[1] U.S. Statement on Geographic Names in Advance of ICANN Durban Meeting
[2] Paris Convention of 1883, which is the basic building block for modern international intellectual property law.
[3] Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods of 1891, the Lisbon Agreement on the Protection of Appellations of Origin, and TRIPS.