ICANN Delays New gTLDs, Again, To Consider Public Comment

ICANN has delayed, once again, the introduction of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) at its meeting in Cartagena, Colombia.At the board meeting on Friday that traditionally concludes the week-long meeting, the board directed staff to make amendments to the Draft Applicant Guidebook based on the economic analyses (the New gTLD Economic Study Phase II Report) and the final written proposals regarding issues affecting morality and public order, and make revisions to the guidebook as appropriate from comments received during the public comment period.It is likely that trademark issues are to the forefront of issues the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) is concerned with, as trademark holder representatives have set out to stop, and if unsuccessful to delay, the introduction of new gTLDs.ICANN will then “provide a thorough and reasoned explanation of ICANN decisions, the rationale thereof and the sources of data and information on which ICANN relied,” said ICANN in a statement at the end of the meeting.”We would rather do it right than do it fast,” Dengate Thrush said.There will then be a meeting, probably in February 2011, of the GAC at an inter-sessional meeting to address the GAC’s outstanding concerns with the new gTLD process.This meeting is planned to give the GAC an opportunity to discuss, and possibly finalise the four “overarching issues” – trademark protection, mitigating malicious conduct, root-zone scaling and economic analysis – as well as geographic names and morality-based objections.”The GAC has made clear to the Board that it has concerns about some issues needing resolution before the launch of new gTLDs,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, ICANN’s Chair of the Board. “So we have set up a consultation in February where Directors and GAC members can engage face-to-face. We hope this will help expedite the resolution of these outstanding issues.”Dengate Thrush said it is imperative that the launch of new gTLDs be handled cautiously and thoughtfully, and that all voices are heard and considered.