Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse

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Type: Non-profit Organization
Industry: Internet
Founded: 2007
Founder(s): Josh Bourne
Phil Lodico
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
Country: USA
Blog: CADNA Blog
Key People
Josh Bourne,co-founder & President
Phil Lodico, co-founder

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse (CADNA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting against domain name abuse, particularly cybersquatting, and other illegal cyber activities.


FairWinds Partners' co-Managing Partners, Josh Bourne and Phil Lodico, together with several brand owners such as Dell Inc., Nike, Inc. and Marriott International, Inc. established the organization in 2007. CADNA's main objective is to decrease instances of cybersquatting in all its forms. CADNA is also campaigning for policy reforms within ICANN.[1] [2]

Affiliation with Fairwinds Partners

The co-founders of FairWinds, Josh Bourne and Phil Lodico, also co-founded CADNA. CADNA and FairWinds Partners have at times seemingly been at odds, given that FairWinds is offering new gTLD consultancy services and CADNA has in the past led an oppositional effort against the new gTLD program.

In March 2012, FairWinds utilized their CADNA association to highlight that they are able to help brands defensively submit applications for gTLDs and Brand gTLDs. They explicitly noted that some brands should be choosing to apply for generic strings in an attempt to head-off any moves that their direct competitors may make for the same string; the brand could then choose to opt-out for a 70% refund should it find that its competitors did not apply and it is no longer interested in the string.[3] FairWinds is not the only consultancy service that offered defensive registration services.The widespread perception that defensive registration was necessary was seen as a failure on ICANN's part, as ICANN originally led an outreach effort to educate brands that defensive registration is not necessary. The issue was largely addressed only after the new gTLd program was approved and high level critics, such as when Secretary Lawrence Strickling of the U.S. Government, called on the organization to rectify the situation.[4]

Specific Objectives

CADNA aims to achieve the following specific objectives:[5]

  • Reduce online infringements across all top-level domains (TLDs) and ensure that new TLDs are introduced in a secure and orderly manner that does not put companies or Internet users at risk
  • Prevent cybercrime and cybersquatting by increasing penalties for these practices
  • Create manageable online infringement monitoring and enforcement strategies for trademark owners to protect consumers efficiently
  • Implement ICANN policies that discourage registrants and others who enable domain abuses
  • Educate elected officials regarding domain-related policy reform that will improve consumer safety


The member organizations of CADNA are owners of several global brands. They jointly believe in the significance of online brands and trademarks protection. These organizations are represented by individuals who are experts in the field of Trademark Counsel, Online Marketing, Corporate and Government Affairs and Risk Management. A complete list of CADNA's membership can be found here.

Educational Efforts

On September 18, 2013, CADNA held an event to launch the Know Your Net Campaign to educate Internet users about the roll out and safe navigation of new gTLDs. Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) addressed the event. A panel discussion followed with Emily Eckland of the National Cyber Security Alliance, Anjali Hansen of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Melissa Madigan of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and Leslie Nettleford (AARP). The event kicked off a month-long effort to "raise public awareness about the new gTLD program, its opportunities, and its challenges" and to "teach businesses, Internet users, and policymakers about the impact of cybersquatting and how to safely navigate the new Internet space." [6]

ICANN Correspondence & Commentary

CADNA is fundamentally supportive of ICANN and its multi-stakeholder model, but has been critical of some of its decisions and actions, its new gTLD program in particular.[7]

CADNA provided comments on numerous issues discussed by the ICANN community, including the issue of the implementation of the new gTLD expansion program. Once an opponent of the new gTLD program, CADNA reversed its position once the ICANN Board approved the program. CADNA's focus shifted to addressing brand-owner concerns about the program roll out and more recently, educating the public about the roll out of new gTLDs to ensure safe Internet experiences. During the development process of the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook, CADNA was active in submitting its public comments and recommendations. The organization recommended the following revisions to the Draft Application Guidebook Version 4:[8]

  • Intellectual Property should be a priority in background checks - CADNA wanted to know about the selection criteria and detailed information on the agency that will be chosen to conduct background checks. It believes that checking the history of intellectual property violations should be the top priority of background checks.
  • ICANN should require proof of good standing - CADNA argued that it is necessary to require applicants to prove their good standing early on to prevent a waste of time and resources.
  • Whois requirements should be uniform - The organization reiterated that ICANN should be specific in its rules and ensure the maintenance of an accurate Whois Database.
  • Mandatory Sunrise Period should not hold domain names hostage - CADNA recognized the importance of the Sunrise period and suggested that domain names should not be offered at a very high price. Registries should prioritize trademark owners to register their domain names and it shouldn't be too expensive.
  • Trademark Clearinghouse should be more than a database - CADNA proposed that ICANN needs to further review the purpose of the Clearinghouse as a mechanism for the protection of trademarks and not just a mere repository for information.
  • Certain Clearinghouse services should be limited - ICANN should clarify which entities will be given access to the data services of the Clearinghouse. In addition, ICANN should develop and implement mechanisms to guard information and guarantee its exclusive use by relevant trademark owners.
  • The term "text mark" should be clearly defined - ICANN should clarify what constitutes a text mark.
  • Cost should be shared by stakeholders - The beneficiaries of the Trademark Clearinghouse are not only brand owners, therefore, the costs should be borne by all stakeholders.
  • Decision on third-party contractor should be open and transparent - ICANN should select a contractor with a strong background in trademark protection issues, and the selection should be made in an open and transparent manner.
  • The URS should be able to transfer domain names, expedite, and utilize forms.
  • Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP)- CADNA suggested the following:
1. Registry operators should be held accountable for certain domain name infringements within their registries.
2. PDDRP should not unnecessarily burden complainant
3. Expert panel decisions should be enforced
4. ICANN should set limits for cost

Further Recommendations

Following the approval of the Applicant Guidebook, CADNA continued to offer critiques and recommendations to ICANN. These included announcing the date for the second round of gTLD applications; that .Brand applicants be given a discount on multiple applications; and that ICANN implement a policy that allows trademark owners to register a low cost, one-time block on their marks before the Sunrise or Landrush Periods. The last recommendation was inspired by a similar policy implemented by ICM Registry for its .xxx sTLD.[9]

Praise of ICANN & The Multi-Stakeholder Model

In February, 2012, CADNA issued a statement declaring that it fundamentally supported ICANN and its multi-stakeholder model. The statement was issued in response to the call by some countries and ICANN stakeholders to transfer authority over the root zone to the United Nations and its International Telecommunications Union. The statement also thanked Larry Strickling and NTIA for educating the American business community that it must be involved in ICANN's multi-stakeholder model to best protect their interests. While CADNA noted that it still had problems with the way that ICANN's new gTLD program was being rolled out, it remains supportive of the organization and is opposed to any effort to strip ICANN of its current authority.[10]

Recommendations for Perpetual Blocks

In September, 2012, CADNA sent a letter to ICANN, its GAC, and the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration to request that all new, open gTLD registries are required to implement a Perpetual Block Option or a Domain Protected Marks List (DPML). A perpetual block option would allow a given corporation to protect its IP and trademarks through a one-time registration, and was compared by CADNA to the model used by ICM Registry when launching .xxx. A DPML would block users from registerting domain names related to trademarks registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse. CADNA noted that there are about 400 applications for generic terms that do not contain any such IP protection mechanisms, and consequently risk becoming spaces for IP infringement.[11]

Request for Future New gTLD Applications

CADNA has been critical of ICANN's New gTLD Program, claiming that its launch is premature and the policy development process that led to the creation of the Program lacked transparency. CADNA has clarified that, while it initially objected to the roll-out of the new gTLD program, it is not opposed to the introduction of new gTLDs.[12] CADNA clarified this position when Josh Bourne, President of CADNA, sent a letter to ICANN President and CEO Rod Beckstrom asking the Internet governing body to disclose the schedule for future rounds of new gTLD applications. According to Bourne, after hosting a conference entitled "What's at Stake: The Reality of ICANN's New gTLD Program for Brands," participants concluded that CADNA would submit a proposal to the ICANN Board. In its proposal, CADNA asked that the ICANN Board "request an Issues Report to formally initiate a policy development process to determine when the next round of new gTLD applications will occur, thereby affirming its commitment to opening a second round in a timely manner." Bourne emphasized that CADNA does not object the promotion of innovation and improved competition through the introduction of new gTLDs; however, he said that ICANN has structured this New gTLD Program in such a way that it does not meet that objective. Furthermore, Bourne said that if ICANN would reveal a second round of applications, it might help ease the anxiety felt by businesses and subdue their hostility regarding the upcoming launch of the New gTLD Program, because it will give them the opportunity to prepare more thoroughly and decide if they will benefit from participating in the Program. As is, with the dates of future rounds unknown, many companies feel a sense of market scarcity and feel obliged to rush to apply immediately, before being able to weigh the costs and benefits.[13][14]

CADNA Founders Promote New gTLD Consulting Services

On November 15, 2011, FairWinds Partners, one of the founding member organization of CADNA, issued a press release regarding its new, full-suite gTLD consulting services to brand owners that are planning to participate in the ICANN new gTLD program. Fairwinds Partners is marketing its expertise in the domain name industry and claims that it can clarify the confusions surrounding the program and it can help design a strategy for brand owners to make the most out of the opportunity. Fairwinds Partners promised that it will not only submit the application but it will also communicate with ICANN during the entire application process, the company admitted that it had been critical of the Internet governing body for years.[15]

Reaction to Senate Hearing on New gTLD Program

In connection to the negative reactions of various organizations regarding the new gTLD program, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing on December 8, 2011, which CADNA commended. The coalition believed that the hearing paved the way to reform and improve the new gTLD program and ICANN's policy development process. Bourne stated that the coalition is committed to looking for an attainable solutions to improve the new gTLD program and urged the Internet community to stop complaining about the policy, which could no longer be revoked, and instead find constructive ways to improve it. He also said; "The Coalition has always supported the multistakeholder system and strongly believes that with some reforms, ICANN can better fulfill its designated mission".[16]

The following week at a House of Representatives hearing on the new gTLD program, focused on addressing brand-owner concerns about the way that the program was rolled out. For example, Bourne praised .xxx's novel trademark protection mechanisms, saying they should be mandatory for all new gTLDs, and claimed that Congress could help in fighting cybersquatters by revising the old US Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. He also requested that ICANN announce dates for subsequent gTLD application rounds, in order to relieve the "condition of scarcity" that this uncertainty created and that perhaps put undue pressure for participation in the first round.[17]

In a press release on January 3rd, 2011, CADNA reiterated these suggestions and urged ICANN to adopt a pricing structure where trademark owners applying for multiple trademark TLDs be given a price cut for every additional TLD after the first, and that non-profit organizations be allowed to participate in the Applicant Support Program, which would reduce the cost of the application from $185,000 to $47,000 for qualified applicants. CADNA also recommended that, if ICANN is awarded the new IANA contract following its expiration in March 2012, that NTIA should make it a short contract, with extension dependent on an audit of ICANN's structure, policy development process, governance, transparency, and success of the new gTLD program. These recommendations were also conveyed in a meeting with NTIA's Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling, and in a letter to ICANN.[18]