As I mentioned last week in a prior post, ICANN has published its Interim Compliance Model for WHOIS in order to comply with Europe’s GDPR law. In future posts we will discuss whether or not ICANN’s Model is fit for purpose and its effects on Contracted Parties (registrars and registries). The bottom line for brand owners is that it will make it more difficult to identify infringers. Much of the WHOIS information that brand owners are used to being able to see will be hidden behind a de facto privacy/proxy service. There will be, at some unknown point in the future, access for accredited entities such as law enforcement organizations (ICANN insiders will see the irony in ICANN “accrediting” the FBI or Scotland Yard) and, hopefully, intellectual property owners. However, details of the accreditation process and proposed timeline are non-existent so far. Lawsuits and discover/subpoenas issued to registrars may be necessary while the accreditation issues are worked out and may just be easier in the long run, depending on how onerous the accreditation process is and whether or not WHOIS will ultimately be searchable again.
In an interview conducted by Lee Neubecker, I discuss in more detail why we may be heading down the path to more litigation.
Please click here to view the video.