Ireland: Amazon Successfully Defends Community Objection Against Application For ‘.Amazon’

Last Updated: 28 March 2014
Article by Alistair Payne and Colm Maguire

In Professor Pellet, Independent Objector (France) v Amazon EU SÁRL (Luxembourg), Amazon has successfully defended a community-based challenge by an independent objector to its application for the new generic top-level domain (gTLD) name '.amazon' (and the Japanese and Chinese equivalents). In the expert determination issued on January 27 2014, Professor Luca G Radicati di Brozolo found that the objector had failed to show any "substantial opposition" by the Amazon community to the application or that the latter would suffer "material detriment" if the application succeeded.

The office of the independent objector is a mechanism in the new gTLD application process whereby a single independent objector, in a kind of amicus brief role, may object to an application in the public interest where no other objection has been filed, in particular, in circumstances such as this case, where there is no institution willing or able to object on behalf of a specific community.

For a community objection to be sustained, there must be substantial opposition from a significant portion of the community which is targeted by the string. It must be proved that:

the community can be clearly defined; there is substantial community opposition; there is a strong association between the relevant community and the string; and there is a likelihood that the rights or legitimate interests of a significant portion of the relevant community will suffer material detriment.

The expert in this case found that there was no need to determine whether the community could be clearly defined in light of his conclusions on the other three tests.

With regard to the association between the community and the '.amazon' string, the main thrust of the objection was that there is a strong association between the Amazon region and its community and the '.amazon' string in the mind of the average internet user. Amazon argued that this ignores the "strong brand recognition" attaching to its AMAZON trademark. Simply because a string, which is also a brand name, happens to relate to some geographic area, does not mean that the string is targeting that area. Amazon argued that its proposed use of the '.amazon' string is a legitimate and unrelated use of its well-known trademark and company name.

The expert acknowledged the recognition attaching to the Amazon brand but said that this was "beside the point". For him, the real question was whether there are equally strong links between the '.amazon' string and other communities. His conclusion was that the string coincides with the name of the Amazon River and creates a "strong association" with the community in the Amazon basin.

As to the issue of whether there was a substantial opposition to the application, the objector relied upon the early warnings issued by the Brazilian and Peruvian members of ICANN's Governmental Advisory Committee and endorsed by Bolivia, Ecuador and Guyana to show substantial opposition. Amazon argued that none of the potential opponents to the application actually filed an objection. The expert found that the failure of governments, environmental groups or representatives of the indigenous populations to make an objection could not be ignored and a showing of substantial opposition had not been made out. With regard to whether the application created a likelihood of material detriment to a significant portion of the Amazon community, the objector argued that the grant of exclusive rights to the '.amazon' string would prevent its use for public interest purposes relating to the Amazon region which would cause material harm to the region and to the public who use the internet. Amazon argued that there was no detriment because no-one else had applied for the '.amazon' string.

The expert concluded that the failure of the Amazon community, or of anybody sharing its interests, to apply for the '.amazon' string was indicative that its use in the future was not essential to the interests of the Amazon basin community.

A substantive procedural issue concerning conflict of interest arose prior to determination on the merits. The expert found that links between the objector and two members of the Amazon community led to "justifiable doubts as to his independence" and that, in the interests of "ensuring the perception of neutrality, independence and impartiality of the office of independent objector and of the entire gTLD dispute resolution process", the applicant's challenge to the independence of the independent objector must be upheld.

In circumstances of conflict of interest such as this one, and in the interests of maintaining the integrity of the process, it could be assumed that the objection would then be rejected without further ado. However, in the absence of provision in the rules, the expert took the pragmatic approach of proceeding regardless, which resulted in a rejection on the merits. It is easy to imagine that, had the decision gone the other way, real questions would have been raised about the fairness and integrity of the process.

Considering the 'one-off' nature of the objection procedure and in the interests of equity, it seems reasonable that, where a conflict of this nature is found to exist in the future, an independent arbiter (perhaps even the ICANN ombudsman) should be appointed to assess whether there are good-faith grounds on which a subsequent objection should be made. Of course this involves much more than a creative "filling in of the gaps" exercise by an expert and would require a modification of the objection procedures.

Originally published in World Trademark Review - February 2014

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.