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9. These terms and your posts and contributions shall be governed and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Switzerland (without giving effect to conflict of laws principles thereof) and any dispute exclusively settled by the Courts of the Canton of Geneva.

The Politicization Of The US Patent System

The Washington Post story, How patent reform’s fraught politics have left USPTO still without a boss (July 30), is a vivid account of how patent reform has divided the US economy, preempting a possible replacement for David Kappos who stepped down 18 months ago. The division is even bigger than portrayed. Universities have lined up en masse to oppose reform, while main street businesses that merely use technology argue for reform. Reminiscent of the partisan divide that has paralyzed US politics, this struggle crosses party lines and extends well beyond the usual inter-industry debates. Framed in terms of combating patent trolls through technical legal fixes, there lurks a broader economic concern – to what extent ordinary retailers, bank, restaurants, local banks, motels, realtors, and travel agents should bear the burden of defending against patents as a cost of doing business.


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    Inside Views
    Inside Views: The Next Internet Revolution Will Not Be In English: New Multilingual URLs

    Published on 3 December 2010 @ 12:46 pm

    Disclaimer: the views expressed in this column are solely those of the authors and are not associated with Intellectual Property Watch. IP-Watch expressly disclaims and refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of any posts made to this forum, which remain solely the responsibility of their authors.

    Intellectual Property Watch

    By John Yunker

    This year marks the first time a website address may exist fully in Chinese, Russian, Arabic, or other non-Latin scripts. Ten years from now, the percentage of English content could easily drop below 25 percent. But there are still obstacles to this linguistically local revolution.

    This year marks the long-awaited emergence of top-level internationalized domain names (IDNs). In layman’s terms, this year marks the first time a URL (a website address) may exist fully in Chinese, Russian, Arabic, or other non-Latin scripts.

    To illustrate the significance of IDNs, this visual depicts about half of the currently approved IDNs positioned over their respective regions.

    Note the wide range of scripts over India – a country with more than 20 official languages. Also note that Middle Eastern countries have been early adopters of Arabic IDNs. China figured prominently with IDNs (traditional and simplified), as does Russia’s IDN, in Cyrillic characters, which stands for “Russian Federation.”

    I left off the Latin country code equivalents (.in, .cn, .th, .ru, .sa, etc.) to illustrate what the Internet is going to look like (at a very high level) in the years ahead.

    These regions constitute more than 2.5 billion people, most of whom do not speak English as a native language. This region also represents where most of the growth in internet usage will occur over the next decade.

    This next revolution is a linguistically local revolution. In terms of local content, it is already happening. Right now, more than half of the content on the internet is not in English. Ten years from now, the percentage of English content could easily drop below 25%. And yet there are a few technical obstacles that have so far made the internet not as user friendly as it should be for people in these regions.

    A URL in Any Language

    Imagine if every time you wanted to enter a URL you were expected to input characters from a different language, or worse, a different script. This is the internet as it stands today for more than a billion people.

    IDNs promise to ease the pain for million of internet users, though not without causing a big of pain for companies that will find themselves needing to support IDNs. Although most modern browsers can handle IDNs, not all web applications can handle them properly. More important, few multinationals have been aggressive in either registering or using IDNs.

    But the leaders of China and Russia have been vocal proponents of IDNs. Russian President Mednevedev said: “We must do everything we can to make sure that we achieve in the future a Cyrillic internet domain name – it is a pretty serious thing. It is a symbol of the importance of the Russian language and Cyrillic.”

    Not surprisingly, the Kremlin now has its own full-length Cyrillic URL in operation right now at: http://президент.рф. The Kremlin is not alone. The leading Russian search engine Yandex has its IDN working (http://Яндекс.рф), as does Russia’s largest mobile carrier: http://МТС.рф.

    I’m not suggesting that the Latin-based equivalents of these URLs are in danger of disappearing. They are here to stay. But I am suggesting we are entering an era where companies will be expected to support domains across multiple languages and scripts. This will have broad implications for the management and protection of global corporate and brand names.

    How Local is Local Enough?

    The big question every company must first ask is how best to localize its brand name for each market. Should the brand name stay as is? Should the name be translated into an entirely new name in the local language? Or should the name be transliterated, so that, when pronounced in the local language, it sounds similar to the original name?

    Years ago in China, Coca-Cola went the transliteration route. The transliterated name features prominently on the home page of Coca-Cola China:

    Most companies stick with one “global brand name” for the sake of simplicity. But this approach may be shortsighted. It is very possible in the years ahead that the very notion of a global brand name takes a back seat to market-specific brand names. While this is not the most efficient way to scale globally, the local markets may reward those companies that do make the investment. Only time will tell.

    What is certain is that companies cannot afford to overlook IDNs. In the first three weeks since Russians have been able to register IDNs, more than 500,000 have been scooped up – a significant number. If you’ve missed out on a possible transliteration of your corporate name, you could already be dealing with an expensive process of purchasing it from a squatter (or an upstart local competitor).

    Looking ahead, my advice is to work closely with your in-country offices to understand your users and how they find and use your websites. What search engines do they use? What browsers or mobile devices? Pay very close attention to social networking platforms. And invest the time now in educating your legal, marketing, and product development teams to the coming technical challenges and opportunities of IDNs.

    We’re inching closer to a linguistically local internet, in which users no longer have to leave their native language to get where they want to go. This is a positive development for making the internet truly accessible to the world.



    John Yunker
    , co-founder of Byte Level Research (bytelevel.com), is a leading expert on web and content globalization. He has written a number of landmark reports on web and content globalization, including “The Web Globalization Report Card” and “The Art of the Global Gateway.” He also focuses on emerging best practices in the globalization of social media and mobile apps.

     

    Comments

    1. Jean Chicoine says:

      Very simply put, the Western World, with English as its main language, will have to wake up to the fact that it doesn’t “own” the world.


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    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

    6. You understand and agree that the discussion forums are to be used only for non-commercial purposes. You may not solicit funds, promote commercial entities or otherwise engage in commercial activity in our discussion forums.

    7. You acknowledge and agree that you use and/or rely on any information obtained through the discussion forums at your own risk.

    8. For any content that you post, you hereby grant to IP Watch the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, exclusive and fully sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part, world-wide and to incorporate it in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

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