.food

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Status: Proposed
Registry: Lifestyle Domain Holdings, Inc.
Registry Backend: Verisign
Type: Generic
Category: Food & Drink
Priority #: 117 - Lifestyle Domain Holdings, Inc.
989 - Dot Food, LLC
1141 - Donuts (Wild Orchard, LLC)

.food is a new generic top level domain name (gTLD) proposed to the New gTLD Program of ICANN.

Current Applicants

The applicants for the string include: [1]

  1. Donuts (Wild Orchard, LLC)- Wild Orchard is one of the companies created by Donuts to submit its application for the gTLD. The company invested $56 million just for application fees for 307 new gTLDs. Its back-end registry services will be provided by Demand Media.[2] This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.
  2. Dot Food, LLC- Ms. Tess Pattison-Wade, Executive Director of the company, is listed as the contact person in the application. The company partnered with Neustar to serve as its back-end registry provider.[3]
  3. Lifestyle Domain Holdings, Inc.- Matthew Russotti is the main contact person of the company. The company is based in Knoxville, Tennessee. Verisign will provide its back-end registry services.[4]

Lifestyle Domain Holdings, Inc.

The application from Lifestyle Domain Holdings, Inc. was issued a GAC Early Warning from the representative of Australia and GAC Chair, Heather Dryden. The warning system is noted as a strong recommendation on behalf of national governments to the ICANN Board that a given TLD application should be denied as it stands. Applicants are encouraged to work with objecting GAC members.[5]

The warning states that the applicant is "seeking exclusive access to a common generic string .. that relates to a broad market sector," which Ms. Dryden notes could have unintended consequences and a negative impact on competition.[6]

Dot Food, LLC

The applicant DotFood, LLC launched a pre-registration system to assess and track interest in specific domain names in November, 2012, despite the fact that the string remained in contention. The contention was not listed on their site, and trademark holders with the USPTO were said to be given preference within the non-binding system.[7]

Objections

An official Legal Rights Objection was filed by Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc., against both Dot Food LLC and Donuts.[8] It seems that Scripps Networks is behind the third bid, from Lifestyle Domain Holdings.

A Legal Rights Objection, as defined by the ICANN approved mediator, WIPO, is when, "third parties may file a formal objection to an application on several grounds, including, for trademark owners and Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) [..] When such an objection is filed, an independent panel (comprised of one or three experts) will determine whether the applicant’s potential use of the applied-for gTLD would be likely to infringe [..] the objector’s existing trademark, or IGO name or acronym."[9]

Prior Controversy

In June 2009, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck announced his plans to apply for the .food TLD in partnership with Minds + Machines during the ICANN meeting in Sydney, Australia. Puck's primary responsibility in the partnership was to encourage entities within the food industry to use the .food TLD. [10] The partnership's application for the string did not materialize and ended in a lawsuit. Minds + Machines, together with its parent company Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. and its investor Frederick Krueger, filed a lawsuit against Puck and his wife Gelila Puck as a result of a failed business deal in connection with the .food TLD. The consulting firm alleged that Gelila interjected herself in the relationship between Minds+Machines and Wolfgang Puck and interfered in the existing business relationships with Minds + Machines. The company also alleged that the Pucks sent a demand letter citing that they own 50% of the .food and 50% of all the business that will be developed as a result of their introductions. In addition, the couple also allegedly stated that they have the right to co-invest in any TLDs. Minds + Machines refused the couples demands. Gelila became "forceful, abusive, and erratic" to the point of calling Minds + Machines employees and telling them to resign. Wolfgang also stopped promoting the .food TLD. Minds + Machines asked the court to order the Pucks to pay $5 million for business damages. The Pucks argued that the company breached their contract and requested an immediate negotiation. [11]

On October 28, 2009, the court dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice and without cost to any party and requested that both parties settled their differences.[12]

References