- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2009

NEW YORK

The Internet’s key oversight agency is considering a centralized database of trademark holders to cut down on questionable registrations of new Internet addresses.

Officials say the mechanism won’t preclude a new Web site from being created at, say, “www.apple.farm” by someone outside Apple Inc. But it would create hurdles. Backers of the idea say it is needed so trademark holders won’t have to spend thousands of dollars registering domain names defensively to block someone from registering them and trying to profit - a practice known as “cybersquatting.”

The proposed trademark database comes as the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers, known as ICANN, is trying to widely expand the number of Internet domains, which include “.com,” for the first time since the 1980s.

New names could start appearing next year.

Trademark holders have already had first dibs when new domain suffixes are created, but many companies fear that if ICANN suddenly adds 500 suffixes to the system, they’d have to register their brands in each domain. Administrative costs could balloon if those suffixes all have different rules for trademark claims.

So a central database, dubbed an IP Clearinghouse, would unify those rules. And someone’s attempt to register a trademark under a new suffix would be automatically blocked until the applicant could prove that its use is legitimate.

ICANN might not decide on the idea until December.

Blockbuster to stream rentals on Samsung TVs

SAN FRANCISCO | Having been a step behind in the race to pipe entertainment from the Internet to TV screens, struggling video rental-chain Blockbuster Inc. is counting on a new partnership with Samsung Electronics America Inc. to regain ground on rival Netflix Inc.

In an alliance announced last week, Samsung’s next generation of high-definition TVs will include a built-in feature that will enable people to rent the latest DVD releases from Blockbuster with the press of a button on the remote control.

The Blockbuster rentals, expected to be priced from $1.99 to $3.99 apiece for a 24-hour viewing opportunity, will be piped over high-speed Internet connections. Samsung’s HDTVs will begin offering Blockbuster’s on-demand service this fall.

The relationship is a coup for Dallas-based Blockbuster because Samsung is the world’s largest manufacturer of flat-panel TVs. Blockbuster’s on-demand rental service also will be accessible through software installed on Samsung’s Blu-ray DVD players and home theater systems - devices that already offer Netflix’s own Internet streaming service.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

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