Daily Wrap: ICANN in Toronto and New gTLDs And “Super-Fadi”

Domain Incite has a few stories we need to catch up on as part of our Daily Wrap, mostly relating to new generic Top Level Domains and the ICANN meeting in Toronto last week.

The first Domain Incite story relates to Donuts, the applicant to ICANN for the largest number of gTLD strings (397), who have outlined their preferred method for resolving conflicts for strings where there is more than applicant. “Donuts is backing a private auction model designed and managed by Cramton Associates as its preferred solution for resolving its 158 new gTLD contention sets,” the report notes.

Donuts believe “that private auctions will be faster and cheaper for applicants than the process set out by ICANN as the ‘last resort’ method for resolving contention sets.”

The article concludes “there’s no denying that Donuts has a greater incentive than most to have a consolidated auction. By its own admission, it’s an eight-person operation without the manpower to negotiate 158 contention sets.” So a little bit of self-interest.

Domain Incite also turns its attention to Fadi Chehadé, or “Super-Fadi”, the new ICANN CEO who was attending his first ICANN meeting in the role, “managing to impress pretty much everybody [Domain Incite] spoke to.”

“Now Chehadé has turned his attention to the formative Trademark Clearinghouse and the Registrar Accreditation Agreement talks, promising to bring the force of his personality to bear in both projects,” the report notes.

“I’m coming out of Toronto with two priorities for this year,” he said during an interview with ICANN’s media relations chief, Brad White, last Friday.

“The first one is obviously to get the Trademark Clearinghouse to work as best as possible, for all parties to agree we have a mechanism that can satisfy the interests of the parties.”

“The second one is the RAA,” he said. “Without question I’m going to be inserting myself personally into both these, including the RAA.”

“These are both difficult problems,” Domain Incite notes.

In the third Domain Incite report in our catch-up, “ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee has given four new gTLD applicants cause to breath a sigh of relief with its official advice following last week’s meeting in Toronto.”

“The last-minute reprieve comes in the form of a list of specially protected strings matching the names of intergovernmental organisations that is much shorter than previously demanded.”

“Led by a US proposal, the GAC has told ICANN to protect the name of any IGO that qualifies for a .INT domain name.”

Number four is that “ICANN last week formally approved new rules that could allow incumbent registry operators to own registrars that sell domains in their own gTLDs,” meaning that Verisign would be allowed to sell .COM domains directly.

Outside the world of ICANN’s meeting in Toronto, but in the new gTLD arena, Domain Incite reports “Image Online Design, which unsuccessfully applied for the .WEB gTLD all the way back in 2000, has sued ICANN, alleging trademark infringement and breach of contract.”

And in another lawsuit, “alternate root player Name.Space has sued ICANN for trademark infringement and anti-competitive behaviour, saying ‘insiders’ have conspired to keep it out of the new gTLD program.”

Meanwhile in non-Domain Incite news, “governments have been considering their options with regard to intervening against applications for new generic top level domains, which are currently being processed by ICANN,” writes Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch.

In her report, Ermert notes that “in their report published after the end of ICANN meetings last week, governments listed consumer protection, competition issues and the number of defensive registrations a new zone might attract. They also listed specific topics of top-level domains (TLDs, such as .com) about which they have ongoing concerns, including religious terms, names that target regulated sector industries (like finance or health), generic names if applied for exclusive use, and as well ‘intellectual property rights, particularly in relation to strings aimed at the distribution of music, video and other digital material.’”

Also looking at the ICANN meeting in Toronto was Fairwinds Partners who described the (almost) week-long meeting as having a “slight change in atmosphere.”

“For example, senior government officials conducted a high-level meeting in conjunction with an ICANN public meeting for the first time ever today. ICANN’s new President and CEO, Fadi Chehadé, has appointed an array of new staff members and indicated during his remarks at this morning’s welcome ceremony that ICANN is on the precipice of an organisational shift. And hundreds of attendees here in Toronto are participating in an ICANN meeting for the first time.”

Fairwinds notes that “it seems a foregone conclusion that the New gTLD Program, largely due to its sweeping scope and pervasive effects, will change certain aspects of the ICANN system. And while the exact nature and extent of those changes is still not completely clear, we are feeling the first waves of those changes at this meeting here in Toronto.”

Another to look at the ICANN meeting in Toronto was Stéphane Van Gelder, Registry Relations and Strategy Director for NetNames as well as being Chair of the GNSO.

Van Gelder has a list of topics outlining what happened, these being outlining how new gTLD applications will be approved, “ICANN told by EU agency that proposed data verification measures infringe data protection laws,” and the outlining of the myICANN.org website.