NEW DELHI: The multi-billion dollar juggernaut Tata Group’s efforts to secure a domain name .tata has hit a Moroccan wall. A province in the African country bears the same name and has refused to give its endorsement to Tata’s bid.
Tata Group has now approached the government of India to open diplomatic channels to impress upon the Moroccan government not to obstruct it’s application to Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). “It is an example of issues faced in internet governance. The Tata Group has requested the Indian Government to take up the matter with the North African country through diplomatic channels,” sources said.
The group’s subsidiary TATA Motors has secured .tatamotors domain name. Officials privy to the case reveal that the events started in 2012 following Tata’s application to ICANN, an American non-profit organisation for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of databases of the name spaces of the internet. After years of deliberations and evaluations, ICANN changed the status of the industrial giant from “on hold” to “Will not proceed” in 2015. Experts say that this means a nudge to the company to withdraw its application.
The bone of contention is a province in Morocco with a population of about 150,000. This makes ‘Tata’ a protected geographic name, and the onus is now on the Tata Group to show ‘unequivocal’ endorsement or non-objection from the provincial government of Tata. Morocco has apparently written a letter to ICANN that it may want the .tata domain name for itself.
As organisation ICANN is fine-tuning its rules for internet governance, there have been instances of confusion previously. DotConnectAfrica’s application for .Africa first got an endorsement from an African Union representative only to be withdrawn later.
Officials say that the issue can be resolved amicably and building Tata province a new school may open the doors for the Indian conglomerate that has its presence from salt making to high-end luxury cars.