Patagonia In Fight With Argentina Over .patagonia Domain Name


Looks as though outdoor company Patagonia may actually be in conflict, instead of cooperation, with its geographic namesake for the first time. Patagonia recently applied to ICANN to register the .patagonia top level domain name, around the same time as the equally controversial .amazon application by Amazon. Not soon after, the government of Argentina was quick to register its Early Warning protest. Chile followed right behind.  

In the beginning of 2012, ICANN controversially opened up registration application for new gLTDs, or generic top level domains, to further expand the existing namespace for domain names and allow for greater Internet innovation. In June of last year, Patagonia applied for the .patagonia domain name, with a mission to "provide the public, outdoor industry, and customers with a more secure experience, to protect the Patagonia brand, and to further promote the company", states the application document. The company hopes that the .patagonia domain will become synonymous with authenticity and trust. 

The gLTD application process includes multiple levels of review that ensure all stakeholders, including governments, have a voice in deciding which new gTLDs are assigned and to whom. Both the governments of Argentina and Chile submitted an Early Warnings notice with the Patagonia application. Upon receipt of an Early Warning, an applicant may elect to withdraw the application or to continue with the application (this may include meeting with representatives from the relevant governments to try to address the concern). 

Patagonia has requested the opportunity to meet with government representatives of both Argentina and Chile to discuss their concerns and to provide more detail about Patagonia’s plans for the use of .patagonia. The company is hoping that potential alternative remedial measures can be sought. The requested meetings and discussions have not yet occurred.

It looks as though Argentina and Chile may have a valid protest, as Patagonia failed to follow the proper application procedures outlined in ICANN's gLTD Application Guidebook. Any internationally recognized country and territory names automatically can not be registered, such as .mexico or .usa. Other geographical type applications must include documentation of support for or non-
objection to its application from the relevant
governments or public authorities, meaning Patagonia should have first sought permission from Argentina and Chile before applying. 

So who should own .patagonia?