Unifying the IP Governance Landscape

by Mike Hunter

Each regional internet registry (RIR) has its own specific set of policies governing its pool of Internet Protocol (IP) resources. However, inconsistencies across registries’ regulatory rules make it difficult for them to meet the increasing expectations of businesses as well as match the industry’s fast-paced growth. According to Aistis Zenkevičius, director of R&D at IPXO, an IP management marketplace, a centralized commercial RIR would help unify the currently fragmented IP governance landscape, making rapid industry growth more sustainable and equipped for the modern day.

Each RIR differs ever so slightly in providing the essential IP resource management functions. Firstly, it is well-known that some RIRs have not yet offered a programmatic way of accessing and controlling IP assets and their associated metadata. The ones that do provide an application programming interface (API) differ drastically enough to make the application useless, meaning the code that would work with RIPE would not be compatible with ARIN, and vice versa.

Secondly, the databases that store the registered assignees, organizations, roles and the Internet resources themselves have conflicting or incompatible attributes. Although there has been an attempt to unite this data under the Registration Data Access Protocol, it fell short of being a success, and some information is still buried in prehistoric WHOIS databases. 

Lastly, the currently fragmented IP resource governance framework lacks the consistency and agility required to support further development of the industry, which adds to the transparency and management challenges.

To address these issues, IPXO has set out to create the world’s first commercial RIR — a unified registry, allowing businesses to lease and reallocate Internet resources from all incumbent RIRs via a single platform. The solution would also provide APIs, enabling developer access to assets and database functions.

The basis for the platform has already been launched. Recently, IPXO introduced the first fully automated IP leasing and monetization platform, which is fully compliant with each RIR’s regulatory policies. “The IP leasing platform is the cornerstone of what we aim to build,” Zenkevičius notes. Currently, IPXO’s platform allows lease and reallocation of ARIN and RIPE region internet resources.

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