Gefilte fish fight over .Kashrut high level domain

According to my good friend, the Kosher KAT, a dispute has been raised over the application for the .kosher high level domain by Kosher Marketing Associates (KMA), a unit of OK Kosher Certification.
OK Kosher Certification is only one of several organizations that provide kosher certification for food products and ingredients, and upon learning of KMA’s application with ICANN for .kosher, five competing organizations opposed the KMA application.  A representative of OU Kosher, the world’s largest kosher certification organization, explained,
“[w]e think that if the term ‘kosher,’ which has important meaning in the Jewish religion, is commercialized, it will do a disservice to how religion in general should be treated and will harm the kosher public specifically.”

In response, KMA proclaimed that it did not plan to leverage the domain unilaterally or exclusively, but that they would work with the competing groups, including OU.  However, a meeting between the various agencies failed to result in a cooperation agreement.

Despite the fact that Jews who observe the traditions of kashrut, consuming only those products certified as kosher, are a minority in the US, the revenues generated by the sale of kosher products are estimated to be about $17 Billion.  As such, an entity that controls the .kosher gTLD would have a big advantage over its competitors vying for the same consumers by promoting the .kosher domain as the one-stop resource for all things kosher.


I think this is borscht in a teacup.

I don’t see domain names are that important for selling Kosher food. We like to sniff and grope the produce to see that it is fresh.

The OU does enforce their trademark quite strongly. See here

In general, this incident reminds me of an attempt to decide who would rightfully be the new Bobover rebbe by filing trademark applications. See here

I do think that legal fighting over the .kosher domain may well put the cost of kosher food up, and see that as a bad thing.

It occurred to me that having all Kosher food advertised on .kosher could be a great community service. The obvious problem is that there are grey areas where different authorities have different standards. For example, one can buy maize (sweet corn) based beer as Kosher for Passover under Sefardi supervision in Israel, whereas many Ashkenazi Jews are very strict about a Medieval extension of Pesach rules against legumes. gelatin and rennet are both no nos in United Synagogue England since the Bet Din there once included Dayan Abramsky who was particularly strict on this matter – he went on to become the spiritual advisor in Ponevezh. The Chief Rabbinate in Israel considers these chemicals as they are processed significantly and can’t reasonably be considered as being animal products any more. Of course, there are stringencies. Seventh year produce is another sticky point.  In an ideal world, all foods could be listed on such a website with full details of who thinks they are Kosher and who doesn’t and why.

Categories: Domain Names, icann, Intellectual Property, Internet

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