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  • G Dinwoodie and L. Helfer, 'Designing Non-National Systems: The Case of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy' (2001) 43 William and Mary Law Review 141
    The article critically assesses the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) as a potential model for solving the immense legal challenges presented by transborder activity. Inaugurated in late 1999 by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the UDRP creates a fast, inexpensive online mechanism for trademark owners to recapture domain names held by persons who, in bad faith, register and use domain names that are confusingly similar to those marks. At present, the UDRP applies only to a narrow segment of disputes between trademark owners and domain name registrants. But the UDRP has been heralded by some as the model for a new non-national approach to lawmaking and dispute settlement applicable to a broader set of legal issues that transcend national borders.

    In this article, we describe the conditions that led to the UDRP's formation and consider whether the UDRP can and should be replicated elsewhere. The process by which the UDRP was created, and the way in which it is structured, departs significantly from preexisting approaches to international lawmaking and dispute settlement. The UDRP is the product not of national legislation nor an international treaty, but rather of a web of contractual obligations imposed by a private, non-profit corporation with a monopoly over a valuable resource. Through its agreements with the U.S. Department of Commerce, ICANN serves as the gatekeeper for anyone seeking to acquire the most commercially valuable internet addresses. Exclusive control of access to the root server enables ICANN to dictate the terms and conditions for domain name ownership. This technological control also facilitates enforcement of UDRP panel decisions compelling domain name registrars to cancel ownership of contested domain names or transfer them from registrants to trademark owners.

    The UDRP deviates from preexisting lawmaking and dispute settlement paradigms in other ways that make its advantages considerable (and which may make it attractive for replication). For example, the UDRP is a hybrid dispute settlement system. It contains an amalgam of elements from three distinct decision making paradigms - judicial, arbitral and ministerial - and it draws inspiration from international, supranational, and national legal systems. The UDRP thus reveals how dispute settlement structures can be tailored to the needs of new technologies and new types of legal conflicts. The UDRP is also non-national. Neither its substantive content nor its prescriptive force necessarily depends upon the laws, institutions, and enforcement mechanisms of any single nation-state or treaty regime. It thus suggests ways to bypass the often slow and cumbersome mechanisms of national and international lawmaking and to fulfil the demand for effective dispute settlement mechanisms that, like so much current social activity, transcend national borders.

    Even assuming the UDRP can be applied to other situations where the conditions of monopolistic technological control do not subsist, however, we do not believe that it should be uncritically extended to other contexts without first questioning how non-national systems ought to be structured. In particular, while we applaud the effort to construct a non-national model that draws upon but is not constrained by existing paradigms, the current iteration of that model fails to incorporate appropriate checking mechanisms to control the scope and pace of lawmaking and the limited powers granted to dispute settlement decisionmakers. Moreover, the tensions between national and non-national values may be more difficult to reconcile in other settings; cybersquatting, in contrast, was universally condemned, and thus competing national values were less frequently implicated. We seek to identify these and other variables that should guide the authors of new checking mechanisms for new non-national structures.

  • G Dinwoodie, W. Hennessey and S. Perlmutter, International Intellectual Property Law and Policy (LexisNexis Publishing 2001)
  • G Dinwoodie, 'The Development and Incorporation of International Norms in the Formation of Copyright Law' (2001) 62 Ohio State Law Journal 733
    The means by which international norms are developed and incorporated in the formation of copyright law have changed dramatically in recent years. In this article, Professor Dinwoodie explores the nature of those changes. The classical model of international copyright law afforded countries significant latitude to implement international standards in ways tailored to their own economic and cultural priorities. The lack of an effective method of enforcing international standards consolidated that deference to national autonomy. And international treaties tended merely to codify existing commonly accepted national standards. This model has undergone changes of late, most notably (but not exclusively) in the context of the TRIPS Agreement, which subsumed the principal international copyright obligations within the WTO Dispute Settlement system. This change to the classical model is potentially significant in many ways. Most directly, failure to fulfill international copyright obligations may be met by the imposition of trade sanctions. More broadly, however, the interpretation of international copyright obligations by WTO panels may alter the degree of national autonomy afforded member states and may make international copyright law more forward looking in nature. International copyright lawmaking by activist WTO panels thus may generate costs as well as gains. Professor Dinwoodie considers these issues through an analysis of the first (and, thus far, the only) report of a WTO dispute settlement panel regarding violation of a copyright provision contained in the TRIPS Agreement. This report, handed down in June 2000, found that an exemption introduced into section 11 (5) of the U.S. Copyright Act in 1998 violated the rights of owners of copyright in musical works guaranteed by the Berne Convention and incorporated within the TRIPS Agreement. Professor Dinwoodie concludes that the panel report is a good beginning to the new era of international copyright. The panel report is a strong and appropriate endorsement of the need to protect the rights of copyright owners and to hold WTO members to agreed-upon minimum standards. In addition, the report contains hints that WTO panels will accord some continuing respect to the value of national autonomy, will seek to interpret the TRIPS Agreement in a dynamic fashion responsive to changing social and economic conditions, will examine contentious issues of copyright law through other than a pure trade lens, will move cautiously before finding violations of international obligations, and will encourage the involvement of interested third parties in the resolution of WTO disputes. Despite this balanced beginning, the article concludes that private international lawmaking might further forwardlooking international copyright lawmaking in ways that do not incur the costs associated with activist WTO lawmaking. To facilitate this process, Professor Dinwoodie suggests that national courts consider resolving international copyright litigation by formulating substantive rules rather than localizing such disputes in a single country through traditional choice of law rules. Such a substantive law approach to choice of law fits well with the objectives of private international law. But this broader approach will also establish a means of incorporating international norms in the formation of copyright law without jeopardizing values appropriately furthered by the classical method of public international copyright lawmaking.
  • A Johnston, 'Maintaining the Balance of Power: Liberalisation, Reciprocity and Electricity in the European Community' (1999) 17 Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law 121
  • G Dinwoodie, 'The Death of Ontology: A Teleological Approach to Trademark Law' (1999) 84 Iowa Law Review 611
    In recent years, U.S. courts have recognized that a wide (and potentially limitless) range of subject matter may act as a trademark. These developments arguably comport both with a contemporary (global) consumer who is less reliant on linguistic forms of communication and with postmodern scholarship regarding the varied sources and development of meaning. This article addresses how trademark law should adapt to the reality that consumers identify and distinguish products using a range of symbols other than the traditional forms of words and pictorial images. I contend that, in order to regulate effectively the present-day marketplace, trademark law must recognize the limitless sources of meaning. But while nontraditional subject-matter may equally identify a product?s source, protecting that nontraditional matter as a trademark may give rise to very different consequences than protecting traditional trademark subject-matter such as words. If ontological restrictions upon trademark subject-matter are removed, a new set of limits must prudently be established if trademark protection is not to spawn adverse competitive effects from overprotection. I suggest that such limits can be found by tethering trademark law directly to its limited purposes, and by grounding protection not in over-generalized assumptions about classes of subject matter, but rather in the real present-day impact of particular symbols in society. The Article explores this (teleological model) through the vehicle of the nontraditional subject-matter generating the most trademark litigation and the most critical thinking, namely, product design features. The article systematizes the growing body of trade dress case law and scholarship and highlights the different premises that I detect underlying divergent schools of thought. I argue that the Supreme Court is cautiously moving, albeit without any express recognition, toward a postmodern vision of marketplace symbols, and that its recent opinions represent an incipient version of the teleological model that I espouse. Finally, I exemplify the operation of the teleological model by applying its lessons to the issue of functionality. Applying the teleological model to various hotly-debated aspects of the functionality doctrine leads me to endorse adoption of a transparent, purposive analysis of "competitive need" as the measure of functionality rather than any single doctrinal formulation. That inquiry, I argue, should be particularized and applied without categorical differentiation between aesthetic and utilitarian features. I also reject the prevailing view that a finding of functionality should foreclose the grant of any relief to a plaintiff producer, finding it insufficiently cognizant of the costs of confusingly similar source-identifying designs in an increasingly visual society. Instead, I propose that courts should explore the possibility of conditioning a defendant's right to copy a functional design on compliance with labeling or other requirements that minimize consumer confusion. Moderating the consequence for plaintiffs of a finding of functionality should embolden courts to apply a rigorous functionality analysis to a greater range of design features. An ontologically unlimited approach to trademark subject-matter sits well with our postmodern condition; but, in order to avoid over-protection, it must be accompanied by a heightened regard for the policy concerns embodied in the functionality doctrine.
  • A Johnston, 'Democracy in the European System: Towards a Critical Approach' (1998) 9 European Law Students Association Selected Papers in European Law 77
  • G Dinwoodie, 'Introduction: Intellectual Property Law For The Twenty-First Century' (1997) 66 University of Cincinnati Law Review 1