On the proposal of the U.S. government, and with the approval of its Member States, WIPO launched in July 1998 an extensive international process of consultations (the "WIPO Process"). The purpose of the WIPO Process was to make recommendations to the corporation established to manage the domain name system, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), on certain questions arising out of the interface between domain names and intellectual property rights. Seventeen consultation meetings were held in 15 different cities throughout the world in the course of the WIPO Process, and written submissions were received from 334 governments, intergovernmental organizations, professional associations, corporation and individuals.
An Interim Report containing draft recommendations was issued in December 1998 as part of the WIPO Process. This document constitutes the Final Report. The Final Report focused on issues raised, inter alia, by the intersection of trademarks and domain names. Chief among them was the establishment of a uniform dispute resolution policy and procedure for resolving disputes over the alleged bad faith and deliberate misuse of trademarks through the registration of domain names in the generic top-level domains (gTLDs) .com, .net and .org.
These recommendations were largely implemented by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and resulted in the implementation of a successful administrative system for resolving domain name disputes involving trademarks and a system of best practices for domain name registration authorities, designed to avoid such conflicts.
However, a number of issues were identified as being outside the scope of the First WIPO Process, and required further consultation and resolution. These issues arise in the event of the bad faith, abusive, misleading, or unfair use of:
- personal names
- International Nonproprietary Names (INNs) for Pharmaceutical Substances, recommended by the World Health Organization in order to protect patient safety worldwide
- names and acronyms of international governmental organizations (IGOs) (such as the United Nations)
- geographical indications, indications of source, or geographical terms, and
- trade names.
These were the subject of the Second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process, which resulted in the Final Report of the Second WIPO Internet Domain Name Process.