Reviewing the list of Government Advisory Council objections to new gTLD applications I was surprised to see that Australia objected to a large number of non-English language applications including four Amazon applications for the Japanese terms クラウド[cloud], ストア[store], セール[sale], and ファッション[fashion] .
Australia was apparently the top objector among GAC members, all largely on the basis that the applied for name was generic and would stifle competition and participation in that particular market sector.
In his January 3, 2013 piece in CircleID.com Mr. Wolfgang Kleinwachter pointed out that GAC members will get a chance to convene in April 2013 at the ICANN meeting in Beijing and we will get a chance to see which objections were “worked out” and which are still pending before ICANN. The GAC objections are “non-binding” but the issue of how to deal with the objections of sovereign states and what effect it could have if ICANN ignores certain objections is an interesting one. In the case of Australia, a number of the objections are for non-Latin alphabet based languages which are not indigenous to Australia. Will that effect Australia’s ability to move ICANN toward not passing through the Amazon applications for クラウド, ストア, セール, and ファッション? If the objector country in these cases was Japan, or if Japan supports Australia’s objection will it be deemed more relevant?
As noted by Mr. Kleinwachter, the April meeting will be exciting and there should be a great deal of “muscle-flexing”, lobbying, and strange bed-fellows getting together around these issues, the outcome of which could have profound repercussions for the new gTLD program and ICANN in terms of making sure that its stakeholders are supportive partners/stakeholders and not naysayers.