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ICANN Ombudsman Decides Slightly Late gTLD Objections Are OK

ICANN new generic Top Level Domains logoThe ICANN Ombudsman has said that allowing complaints that are up to five minutes late about the objection process to the new gTLD Programme are OK.

In a complaint lodged with the Ombudsman, it was decided an objection filed one minute after the closing time for complaints. The issue for the party that faced the objection to the gTLD they have applied for is that “once the objection had been filed then the applicant must respond to the objection, because otherwise the objector would prevail by default.”

In this particular case, the “objection had been received at 12:01 a.m. on 14 March 2013 although the Applicant Guidebook stated that the objection had to be filed by midnight on 13 March 2013. On investigation, the applicant then discovered that the dispute resolution provider, in this case ICC, had conferred with other dispute resolution providers and agreed to permit a five minute window after midnight on 13th March, and that it would accept objections during that window. The applicant says specifically about the timing of the objection.”

The Ombudsman also “noted that that the objector is a competing applicant, and this needs to be factored into what has happened. The complainant considered that this meant the objector acted in bad faith, by lodging the objection at the very last possible time.”

In his reasoning, the Ombudsman notes that due to system issues for dispute resolution providers (DRP), “the synchronization of clocks around the world, and concerns they had, they elected to extend their window by five minutes and accept objections that were filed, according to some clocks in some parts of the world, five minutes after the deadline.”

And in the end, the Ombudsman concluded that “as a result of this investigation, I consider that the decision of the dispute resolution providers to permit the five minute window does not create unfairness for the applicant and is a proportionate response. In addition I do not consider that the sending, and for the DRP to accept the objection, of the objection, within the window is unfair.”