“.wine” and “.vin”: ICANN invites the wine sector and the candidate companies to find an agreement

On 12 September, the European Commission, following the strong opposition of EFOW and national associations representing GI wines, raised its’ voice on the “.wine” and “.vin” issue. In a letter to the attention of ICANN’s CEO, the Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Mrs Neelie Kroes, stated that the European Commission would not tolerate the delegation of “.wine” and “.vin” as such. Provisions to protect Geographical Indications (GIs) needed to be included. This statement was backed by Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner for Agriculture, and Michel Barnier, Commissioner for the Internal Market, responsible for intellectual property issues.

Following this reaction, ICANN, at a meeting on 28 September, decided to postpone the delegation of “.wine” and “.vin”. ICANN noted that disagreements persisted in the GAC, the intergovernmental advisory body within ICANN. It has announced that it will take a decision at its’ next session in Buenos Aires, from 17 to 21 November.

ICANN may now:

– Delegate the two strings as such and not protect GIs. Given the strained relations between the European Commission and ICANN, such delegation would probably bring the two protagonists to a point of no return.

– Not delegate the two strings. In this case, they would simply not exist.

– Delegate the two strings under certain conditions. This is the solution that the European wine sector and the European Commission defend. It involves an agreement between the wine sector and at least one of the three candidate companies.

EFOW, the European federation of origin wines, is satisfied with ICANN’s decision to postpone the delegation of “.wine” and “.vin” in the absence of an agreement on the protection of GIs. It will once again try to engage with the candidates to try to find a satisfactory solution for all by November 17.