Tag Archives: GNSO

ICANN: Attend the GNSO Webinar on the Geographic Names at the Top-Level on 25 April

ICANN logoAs part of its efforts to engage the ICANN community on the issue of geographic names at the top-level, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process (PDP) Working Group (WG) will hold two webinar sessions on Tuesday, 25 April 2017.

The webinar will be the beginning of a discussion that will continue at ICANN59 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The PDP WG leadership team will be holding an extended session in Johannesburg to work through the positions presented in the webinars and propose solutions on how to establish a common ground on the way forward.

Anyone is welcome to participate in the webinar and contribute their perspectives. To attend the webinar, please email Geo-Names-Session@icann.org to receive participation details and timely updates on the program.

The first webinar session will take place at 15:00-17:00 UTC, and the second session will take place at 22:00-00:00 UTC. Various organizations and individual ICANN community members will present their positions on the treatment of geographic names in the webinars.

Group Presenters

  • Brand Registry Group
  • CENTR
  • GAC Working Group on the Protection of Geographic Names
  • GeoTLD Group
  • Intellectual Property Constituency
  • International Trademark Association – Geographic Names Subcommittee (Internet Committee)
  • MARQUES

Individual Presenters

  • Heather Forrest
  • Thomas Lowenhaupt
  • Paul McGrady
  • Alexander Schubert

The webinars will be recorded and archived. Please visit this wiki page for webinar materials and additional information about the Johannesburg session.

If you have any questions, please email Geo-Names-Session@icann.org.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2017-04-19-en

ICANN: Webinar On the GNSO’s Policy Development Process On Curative Rights Protection Mechanisms for International Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations

ICANN logoYou are invited to an interactive webinar on 7 February 2017 at 14:00 UTC, to discuss the preliminary recommendations just published for public comment by the Working Group for the GNSO Policy Development Process on access by International Governmental Organizations’ (IGO) and International Non-Governmental Organizations’ (INGO) access to domain name dispute resolution processes.

The public comment period for the Working Group’s Initial Report (https://gnso.icann.org/en/issues/igo-ingo-crp-access-initial-19jan17-en.pdf) closes on 1 March 2017.

During this webinar, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions following a brief presentation of the Working Group’s preliminary recommendations by the Working Group co-chairs. Attendees will learn about the Working Group’s initial proposals for:

  • Whether to modify the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) or the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) process to address the specific needs of IGOs and INGOs;
  • How an IGO may demonstrate standing to file a complaint under the UDRP or URS in the absence of trademark rights;
  • A Policy Guidance document to clarify the scope of application of the UDRP and URS to IGOs; and
  • Considerations relating to possible claims of jurisdictional immunity by IGOs in appeals from UDRP and URS determinations.

Details:

Date – 7 February 2017
Time – 1400 UTC for 60 minutes

How to Join:

Please sign up here or send an email to gnso-secs@icann.org confirming your participation.

The webinar will be conducted in English. A recording and transcript will be posted on the GNSO website following the webinar.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2-2017-01-27-en

ICANN: GNSO Initial Report on the IGO-INGO Access to Curative Rights Protection Mechanisms Policy Development Process

ICANN logoBrief Overview

Purpose: This public comment proceeding is being opened in order to obtain community input on the Initial Report from the GNSO‘s Policy Development Process Working Group that is evaluating IGO and INGO’s access to curative rights protection mechanisms.

Current Status: This Initial Report on IGO-INGO Access to Curative Rights Protection Mechanisms is posted for public comment as required by the GNSO Operating Procedures.

Next Steps: Following review of public comments received on this report, the Working Group will update the Report as appropriate to reflect public comment. The Working Group will submit its Final Report to the GNSO Council for its consideration.

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

In June 2014, the GNSO Council approved a resolution to initiate a Policy Development Process (PDP), which was directed to consider the specific needs and circumstances of international governmental organizations (IGOs) and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs): (1) the curative rights protection mechanisms currently in place for both existing and new generic top level domains (gTLDs) should be amended and, if so, in what respects; or (2) a separate, narrowly-tailored dispute resolution procedure modeled on the existing curative rights protection mechanisms should be developed.

In order to arrive at a set of preliminary recommendations and conclusions, the Working Group (WG) analyzed the questions outlined in its Charter, reviewed historical documentation related to the specific topic, reached out to the community for input, as well as sought the input of an international legal expert to provide guidance on relevant legal instruments and applicable international law. The WG did not yet take formal consensus calls on its preliminary recommendations and in fact, presents multiple options for policy recommendation language in one instance.

This Initial Report [PDF, 1.19 MB] is being published for public comment in accordance with the GNSO Operating Procedures. Following analysis of all public comments received, the WG will finalize its recommendations and prepare a Final Report for delivery to the GNSO Council, for its review and action.

Section II: Background

In June of 2014, the GNSO Council initiated the PDP, and the WG commenced its work in August of 2014 through weekly teleconference meetings, discussions on its mailing list, and face-to-face sessions involving the broader community at ICANN Public Meetings. In addition, the WG was selected by the GNSO Council to participate in a pilot face-to-face full-day session assisted by a facilitator, immediately following the ICANN Public Meeting in Singapore in February of 2015.

The WG has developed preliminary recommendations for a number of the charter questions it was tasked to address, which are described in its Initial Report. The Initial Report also contains alternative formulations of policy recommendation text in one instance. Community feedback is therefore sought on the preliminary recommendations, open questions and alternative formulations. The WG will review all public comments received as part of its preparations of its Final Report for delivery to and vote by the GNSO Council.

Section III: Relevant Resources

Open Date: 20 Jan 2017 23:59 UTC

Close Date: 1 Mar 2017 23:59 UTC

Staff Report Due: 31 Mar 2017 23:59 UTC

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/public-comments/igo-ingo-crp-access-initial-2017-01-20-en

ICANN: Proposed Charter Amendments of the GNSO Business Constituency

ICANN logoBrief Overview: The purpose of this public comment period is to obtain community input on proposed changes to the charter of the GNSO‘s Business Constituency. The changes have been approved by the membership of the Business Constituency and are awaiting Board review and approval. Consistent with the Board’s 2013 process for review of changes to community charter documentation, the Board’s Organizational Effectiveness Committee has authorized this public comment period for a period of 40 days.

Purpose: Obtain community input on proposed amendments to the charter of the GNSO‘s Business Constituency

Current Status: Charter changes have been approved by the membership of the Business Constituency; ICANN staff has assessed the amendments and determined that the proposals do not present any direct fiscal or liability concerns to the ICANN organization.

Next Steps: Awaiting Board review and approval – pending community feedback.

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

The GNSO Business Constituency (BC) has completed Phase I of the formal ICANN Board Process for approval of community charter amendments and voted to amend its governing Charter documentation. In addition, as part of its Phase II Board Process responsibilities, ICANN staff has assessed the charter changes and determined that the proposals do not present any direct fiscal or liability concerns to the ICANN organization.

Accompanying this public comment announcement (see link below) is a document titled Business Constituency Charter (v3.0) – adopted by BC Vote on 17 October 2016. The document reflects the BC‘s complete new 2016 charter documentation and is presented “clean” rather than “red-lined”. There are historical and practical reasons for this. The document is the culmination of exhaustive work by a drafting team commissioned by the BC leadership. The drafting team held 34 hourly sessions since first involving ICANN Staff in the project back in October 2014. Since that time, the team produced 45 separate versions of the document – resulting in this final version being approved by the BC community and now being shared with the larger community for review.

Before finalizing the effort, every provision, principle, paragraph, and reference of the previous BC charter documentation was thoroughly analyzed, evaluated, edited and reviewed – in many instances more than once.

The final product can best be described as representing an exhaustive and thoughtful deliberation of every charter provision, including a significant amount of new “best-of-breed” material recommended to the community by staff. It is, in effect, a brand new document. As such, it would not be productive to present to any reviewer a typical “red-lined” version as the revisions would dwarf the new text.

Reviewers of the new revised document should scrutinize it as though it were freshly created. Due to the extent of the revisions, a full 40-day community review and comment period is contemplated for this matter.

Section II: Background

The ICANN Bylaws (Article X, Section 5.3) state, “Each Stakeholder Group shall maintain recognition with the ICANN Board.” The ICANN Board has interpreted this language to require that it must formally approve any GNSO Stakeholder Group and/or Constituency Charter amendments.

In 2013, the Board approved a Process For Amending GNSO Stakeholder Group and Constituency Charters (hereinafter “Process”) establishing four process phases that must be executed to secure formal Board approval of any community governance changes.  Those phases are:

  • Phase I: Amendment Preparation
  • Phase II: Staff Review
  • Phase III: Public Comments
  • Phase IV: Board Review

After receiving a recommendation from the Organizational Effectiveness Committee (OEC), the Board shall either:

  1. Recognize the proposed charter amendment by a simple majority vote; or
  2. Reject the proposed amendment by a supermajority (2/3) vote and provide a specific rationale for its concerns.

If neither above condition is met, the Board will ask for further explanation of the proposed amendments by the community.

Section III: Relevant Resources

Section IV: Additional Information

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/public-comments/bc-charter-amend-2017-01-06-en

Pre-ICANN57 Policy Update Webinar

ICANN57 Hyderabad India LogoThe ICANN Policy Development Support Team will provide a Policy Update Webinar on Thursday, 20 October 2016 at 10:00 UTC and 19:00 UTC, in preparation for the upcoming ICANN Annual General Meeting in Hyderabad.

The purpose of the webinar is to summarize policy activities across the ICANN policy development community and briefing the community on the Cross-Community sessions taking place in Hyderabad.

Cross-Community Sessions Briefings:

  • New generic Top Level Domain Auction Proceeds Drafting Team
  • Cross-Community Working Group for Framework of Cross-Community Working Group Principles
  • Cross-Community Working Group on Use of Country/Territory Names as Top Level Domains

Community Engagement Team Update:

  • Community Recognition at ICANN57 and Multistakeholder Ethos Award 2017 Process Launch
  • Supporting Organizations/Advisory Committees Work Effort Inventory/Snapshot Update
  • Policy Staff Support in Community Charter Amendment Processes

Supporting Organizations & Advisory Committee Updates:

  • Address Supporting Organization (ASO) and Regional Internet Registries (RIR) Policy Development
  • Country Code Names Supporting Organization (ccNSO) Update
  • Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO)
    • New generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures Policy Development Process (PDP)
    • Review of all Rights Protection Mechanisms in all Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) Policy Development Process (PDP)
    • Next-Generation Generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) Registration Directory Services to Replace WHOIS Policy Development Process (PDP)
    • IGO/INGO Access to Curative Rights Mechanisms Policy Development Process (PDP)
  • At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC) and At-Large Community Update
  • Government Advisory Committee (GAC)
    • Adaptation of Government Advisory Committee (GAC) Processes to the new ICANN Bylaws
    • Government Advisory Committee Vice-Chairs Elections taking place in Hyderabad
    • Capacity Building Session for the Asia Pacific Region organized by the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) Working Group for Underserved Regions
    • The Government Advisory Committee developing further input for ongoing Policy Development Processes on Registration Directory Services and Future new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs)
  • Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) Update
  • Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) Update

The two sessions are duplicates, scheduled to accommodate different time zones. Each session runs for 90 minutes and will be run in English. The webinar will be conducted in Adobe Connect along with a dial-in conference bridge for audio.

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions at the end of each session. During the course of the webinar, questions may be submitted using the chat function in Adobe Connect.

Recordings of the webinars will be made available here. The Policy Development Support Team is always available to answer any questions via email at policyinfo@icann.org.

Please RSVP via this form by 14 October 2016.
Remote participation details will be sent the week of 17 October 2016.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2016-10-05-en

ICANN: Call for Volunteers: GNSO Review Working Group

ICANN logoIn Brief

The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council adopted the Charter [PDF, 565 KB] of the GNSO Review Working Group during its meeting on 21 July 2016. This Working Group is tasked to develop an implementation plan for the GNSO Review recommendations [PDF, 407 KB] which were recently adopted by the ICANN Board. This is the Call for Volunteers to join this Working Group. Anyone interested in the GNSO Review and contributing to the development of the implementation plan and subsequent implementation is encouraged to volunteer.

What This Working Group Will Do

Per the GNSO Review Working Group Charter [PDF, 565 KB] the GNSO Review Working Group will be responsible for developing an implementation plan, containing a realistic timeline for the implementation, definition of desired outcomes and a way to measure current state as well as progress toward the desired outcome for the GNSO Review recommendations adopted by the ICANN Board (thirty-four (34) recommendations of the Final Report [PDF, 727 KB] of the Independent Examiner (i.e. all recommendations excluding recommendations 23 and 32). This implementation plan is to be submitted for approval to the GNSO Council, followed by consideration by the ICANN Board. Following the approval of the implementation plan, the Working Group is also expected to execute and oversee the implementation of the GNSO Review recommendations unless specified differently in the implementation plan.

The GNSO Review Working Group will also be responsible for considering any new requests1 by the GNSO Council concerning issues related to the GNSO Council processes and procedures and to Working Group guidelines that have been identified either by the GNSO Council, or a group chartered by the GNSO Council, as needing discussion. However, the first priority of the Working Group will be the development of an implementation plan and the subsequent implementation of the GNSO Review recommendations.

Timeline and Deliverables

The GNSO Review Working Group is expected to deliver the implementation plan to the GNSO Council for consideration at the GNSO Council meeting at ICANN57 at the latest in order to meet the Board set objective of ‘an implementation plan, containing a realistic timeline for the implementation, definition of desired outcomes and a way to measure current state as well as progress toward the desired outcome, shall be submitted to the Board as soon as possible, but no later than six (6) months after the adoption of this resolution’2 i.e., December 2016.

How to Join

Each GNSO Stakeholder Group and/or Constituency will identify one primary and one alternate member to serve on the GNSO Review Working Group. In addition to these appointed members, anyone interested will be able to join this working group as a participant or observer. Please note that participants are expected to attend conference calls and to actively participate in online discussions. They also must submit a Statement of Interest per Section 5.0 of the GNSO Operating Procedures [PDF, 1.31 MB]. Observers can follow the group’s work on the mailing list but can neither send to the mailing list nor participate actively in the calls.

Interested participants and observers are requested to complete the sign-up sheet by Friday, 19 August 2016.

Next steps

It is anticipated that the GNSO Review Working Group will convene online for the first time in the last week of August 2016. Following that, regular online meetings will be scheduled in accordance with the Working Group’s work plan, which it is expected to develop as one of its first tasks.

Further information and preparation

For those interested in volunteering for this effort, you are encouraged to review the following materials:

  1. GNSO Review Recommendations [PDF, 407 KB]
  2. Independent Examiner Final Report [PDF, 727 KB]
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

Background

The second independent review of the GNSO commenced in 2014. The Final Report of the independent examiner was published on 15 September 2015 (see https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/gnso-review-final-15sep15-en.pdf [PDF, 1.99 MB]) and contained 36 recommendations in the areas of: participation & representation, continuous development, transparency and alignment with ICANN‘s future. The GNSO Council adopted the GNSO Review Recommendations Feasibility and Prioritization analysis (see: http://gnso.icann.org/en/drafts/review-feasibility-prioritization-25feb16-en.pdf [PDF, 407 KB]) on 14 April 2016 with the modification of Recommendation 21, that the council recommends staff working with the GNSO to institute methods of information sharing of highly relevant research related to gTLDs to help the GNSO community members increase their knowledge base (low priority).

On 25 June, the ICANN Board accepted the Final Report from the independent examiner, taking into account the GNSO Working Party’s Feasibility and Prioritization Analysis of the GNSO Review Recommendations, adopted with modifications by the GNSO Council. The Board adopted thirty-four (34) recommendations of the Final Report (i.e. all recommendations excluding recommendations 23 and 32). Furthermore, the Board requested that the GNSO Council convene a group that oversees the implementation of Board-accepted recommendations.

Per the motion adopted on 21 July 2016, the GNSO Council adopted the Charter [PDF, 565 KB] of the GNSO Review Working Group and directed staff to send a Call for Volunteers for the Working Group.


1 For items that are submitted for review ‘on request’, the GNSO Review WG expects to receive detailed input from the group affected by the process/operational change concerned. See request template at: https://community.icann.org/download/attachments/14713135/GNSO-SCI-ReviewRequest-yyymmdd_template.docx?version=1&modificationDate=1469143165000&api=v2 [DOCX, 102 KB].

2 The Board resolution was adopted on 25 June 2016

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2016-07-27-en

ICANN: Call for Volunteers: New GNSO Policy Development Process Working Group to Review All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs

ICANN logoIn Brief

The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council seeks volunteers for a new Working Group that will conduct a Policy Development Process (PDP) to Review All Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) in All Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). The GNSO Council approved the PDP Working Group’s Charter [PDF, 510 KB] on 9 March 2016.

What This Team Will Do

  1. Conduct the PDP in two phases

    This PDP Working Group is being chartered to conduct a review of all RPMs in all gTLDs in two phases as defined in the approved charter [PDF, 524 KB]: Phase One will focus on a review of all the RPMs that were developed for the New gTLD Program (i.e. the Trademark Clearinghouse and associated notification and sunrise mechanisms, the Uniform Rapid Suspension procedure, and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedures), and Phase Two will focus on a review of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

    At a minimum, in each Phase of this PDP, the Working Group will be expected to first assess the effectiveness of the relevant RPM(s), for which it should seek the input of experienced online dispute resolution providers and other subject matter experts, as appropriate. The Working Group is also expected to look at the interplay between and complementary roles of each RPM in seeking to more fully understand their overall functioning and effectiveness. Ultimately, the goal is for the Working Group to consider the overarching issue as to whether or not all the RPMs collectively fulfill the purposes for which they were created, or whether additional policy recommendations are needed, including to clarify and unify the policy goals.

    In public comments to the UDRP Final Issue Report [PDF, 2.69 MB], the RPM Staff Paper [PDF 2.5 MB], and the Preliminary Issue Report for this PDP, various community groups and participants had identified a number of issues that they considered appropriate for review in a PDP. As such, the Working Group is expected to consider these community suggestions, which have been listed in the Working Group Charter, with further modifications, additions and deletions to be determined by consensus of the Working Group.

  2. Coordinate its work with other parallel efforts

    The Working Group will monitor the progress of and, where appropriate, coordinate with, other ICANN groups that are working on topics that may overlap with or otherwise provide useful input to this PDP. These other efforts include the Competition, Consumer Trust and Consumer Choice Review Team, the Trademark Clearinghouse Independent Review and the GNSO‘s PDP Working Group on New gTLDs Subsequent Procedures. In this regard, the GNSO Council directed that a GNSO community liaison be appointed by the two GNSO PDP Working Groups. Further, as the manager of the policy development process, the GNSO Council is to be kept informed about the various coordination efforts so that in case of conflict between these groups, the Council may take the appropriate action to align the different work processes.

    At the conclusion of Phase One of its work, the Working Group is expected to assess the need for modification to its Charter and, if appropriate, submit a request to the GNSO Council accordingly for the subsequent phase(s) of its work.

How This Team Will Work

ICANN Working Groups use transparent, open processes. The meetings of this PDP Working Group will be recorded and transcribed, and the recordings and transcriptions will be available to the public. The mailing list for the Working Group will be archived publicly. The group will collaborate using a public workspace for draft materials and all final work products and milestones will be documented on the WG‘s wiki. The PDP WG is expected to follow the GNSO Working Group Guidelines [PDF, 350 KB] as well as the GNSO PDP Manual [PDF, 300 KB].

How to participate

There are two ways to volunteer:

  • Individual Members – anyone interested can volunteer to join the PDP Working Group as a member, regardless of whether they are members of the ICANN community. Members are expected to actively contribute to mailing list conversations as well as meetings – it is anticipated that the Working Group will at a minimum meet on a weekly basis via teleconference. Members are expected to provide essential input to the process. Members will be required to provide a Statement of Interest (SOI).
  • Mailing list observers – for those who are merely interested in monitoring the Working Group’s deliberations, it is possible to sign up as a mailing list “observer” which offers read-only access to the mailing list. Mailing list observers will not be permitted to post, will not receive invitations to the meetings of the Working Group and will not have to complete a Statement of Interest. At any point in time, a mailing list observer can join the WG as a member simply by informing the GNSO Secretariat.

In addition, there will be opportunities to provide input through public consultations and public comment processes that the PDP Working Group is expected to organize.

How to Join

If you are interested in joining the Working Group either as an individual participant or mailing list observer, please fill in the sign up form or send the Word document [DOCX, 72 KB], filled in, to the GNSO Secretariat.

All members and observers will be listed on the PDP Working Group’s wiki page.

Next steps

The GNSO Council directed that this call for volunteers be circulated as widely as possible in order to ensure broad representation and participation in the Working Group. it is anticipated that the Working Group will convene online for the first time in early April 2016. Following that, regular online meetings will be scheduled in accordance with the Working Group’s work plan, which it is expected to develop as one of its first tasks.

Further information and preparation

For those interested in volunteering for this effort, you are strongly encouraged to review the following materials prior to the first meeting of the PDP WG:

Background

The question of who legally has rights to, or is the legitimate holder of, a domain name can be open to dispute. In relation to domain name disputes concerning the registration and use of legally protected trademarks, the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) is the longest standing alternative dispute resolution procedure. As a result of the New gTLD Program, several new rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) were developed to mitigate potential risks and costs to trademark rights holders that could arise in the expansion of the gTLD namespace, which included certain safeguards to protect registrants who engage in legitimate uses of domain names: the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS); the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) and the associated availability through the TMCH of Sunrise periods and the Trademark Claims notification service; and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedures (PDDRPs). Prior to the launch of the New gTLD Program, on 3 October 2011 ICANN staff had published a Final Issue Report on the current state of the UDRP. The recommended course of action in that UDRP Final Issue Report [PDF, 2.69 MB] was not to initiate a PDP at the time, but to hold off launching any such PDP until after the new URS had been in operation for at least eighteen (18) months. In addition, the September 2015 revised RPM Staff Paper [PDF 2.5 MB] had explicitly noted that some of the concerns identified by the community for consideration as part of a review of the RPMs might be appropriate topics for policy development work. The UDRP has not been subject to comprehensive review. There has also not been a full review of all the RPMs developed to date by ICANN, to consider whether or not they are collectively achieving the objectives for which they were created.

In preparation for this PDP, a new Preliminary Issue Report [PDF, 1.4 MB] was published for public comment on 9 October 2015. A Final Issue Report [PDF, 1.2 MB] was subsequently published on 7 October 2015, including links to all public comments received, along with a draft charter for the PDP WG [PDF, 510 KB]. The final charter was approved by the GNSO Council on 9 March 2016, enabling the formation of a GNSO working group of community volunteers to conduct this PDP.

More information can be found on the activities webpage for GNSO PDP Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs and the Working Group’s online wiki workspace, which includes the charter, community input provided during the public comment period, and an extensive library of foundational materials to inform the Working Group’s deliberations.

As this will be a complex multi-phase PDP, anyone interested in helping to shape the review of all RPMs in all gTLDs are encouraged to volunteer for this Working Group.

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2016-03-21-en

ICA Counsel Chosen as Interim Chair of Working Group to Review all RPMs in all gTLDs – Including the UDRP by Philip S. Corwin, Internet Commerce Association

Philip Corwin imageOn March 9th, 2016, during its final open meeting at ICANN 55 in Marrakech, Morocco, the GNSO Council approved a motion that I proposed to adopt the Charter of the Policy Development Process (PDP) to Review all Rights Protections Mechanisms in all Generic Top-Level Domains. I serve on the Council as one of the two representatives of ICANN’s Business Constituency, and my fellow Councilors designated me to serve as the GNSO’s Liaison to the Working Group (WG), and as its Interim Chair.

The Motion approved by the Council provided ICANN staff with a 21-day deadline, ending March 30th, to issue a public call for volunteers to serve on the WG. It is expected that the WG will likely schedule its first virtual meeting in the latter half of April, at which point it will begin to organize its work plan and select a permanent Chair or, more likely, several Co-Chairs. While my selection as Interim Chair is not a guarantee of being one of this WG’s Co-Chairs, I do hope to secure that official role. While not being precluded from advocating particular views in their personal capacity, a Chair or Co-Chair must be fully committed to putting aside their personal views or those of their clients/employer in regard to their official administrative duties and responsibilities to the diverse membership of the WG — and to assure that all WG volunteers have a fair chance to advocate their views and have them considered. Should I secure a Co-Chair slot I will be committed to helping to manage a fair and open process that produces a final report and recommendations that is based in sound legal reasoning and verified empirical data – and that all WG participants can be proud of having contributed to.

While many volunteers will already be participants in ICANN Supporting Organizations (SO) or Advisory Committees (AC), that is not a prerequisite for WG participation. ICANN’s WG Guidelines note that a WG should ideally “mirror the diversity and representativeness of the community”, and that the WG Chair(s) have the responsibility of continually assessing whether the WG has sufficiently broad representation or, conversely, “over-representation to the point of capture”.

The Charter sets forth a two-phased approach, described here:

This PDP Working Group is being chartered to conduct a review of all RPMs in all gTLDs in two phases: Phase One will focus on a review of all the RPMs that were developed for the New gTLD Program, and Phase Two will focus on a review of the UDRP. By the completion of its work, the Working Group will be expected to have also considered the overarching issue as to whether or not all the RPMs collectively fulfill the purposes for which they were created, or whether additional policy recommendations are needed, including to clarify and unify the policy goals.

This PDP may well draw volunteers by the dozens given the importance of the issues it will examine to the trademark law, brand protection, domain investment, and IP public policy sectors, as well to the business models of ICANN’s contracted parties, both registries and registrars. Involvement may be further boosted by the likelihood that any final recommendations made by this WG that are subsequently adopted by ICANN may well fix the rules for the intersection of trademark law and domains for the next decade or more.

Those considering volunteering should be aware of the substantial time commitment involved. Once the WG launches I would expect it to hold a one-hour call almost every week. My personal guesstimate is that the review of new gTLD RPMs will take at least twelve to eighteen months – and that the subsequent UDRP review could take even longer, given the breadth of potential procedural and substantive issues, and the fact that this will constitute the first review of the UDRP since it was adopted at the dawn of ICANN’s creation.

Some members of the domain investment community, as well as other interested parties, may be thinking of waiting until the phase two review of the UDRP commences before becoming engaged in the WG. In my view that would be shortsighted, as working relationships and individual credibility will be established during the RPM phase that will be critically important when the WG pivots to review of the UDRP.

In addition, as the non-exclusive list of Potential Issues listed in the Charter makes clear, the Phase One determination of answers to some of the questions could have a substantial impact on, and set precedents for, the subsequent UDRP review. For example, regarding Uniform rapid Suspension (URS), issues to be considered include:

  • Is the URS’ ‘clear and convincing’ standard of proof appropriate? This is higher than the UDRP’s preponderance of the evidence standard and demarks a clear difference between the URS and UDRP by placing a higher burden of proof on the Complainant.
  • Should the URS allow for additional remedies such as a perpetual block or other remedy, e.g. transfer or a “right of first refusal” to register the domain name in question? Many domain investors fear that permitting domain transfer could convert the URS into a UDRP substitute and low-cost vehicle for domain hijacking; trademark owners counter that mere suspension of a blatantly infringing domain allows it to be re-registered in the future.
  • Should there be a loser pays model? If so, how can that be enforced if the respondent does not respond? Monetary penalties are not a current feature of the UDRP for either abusive registrants or complainants.
  • What sanctions should be allowed for misuse of the URS by the trademark owner? There is presently no penalty for attempted use of the UDRP for Reverse Domain Name Hijacking, other than a verbal citation.
  • How can the appeals process of the URS be expanded and improved? While the UDRP permits either losing party to appeal to a court of mutual jurisdiction, there are no mechanisms to set binding precedents that would assure greater consistency and predictability in panelist decisions.

Likewise, the review of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will address such questions as:

  • Should the TMCH matching rules be expanded, e.g. to include plurals, ‘marks contained’ or ‘mark+keyword’, and/or common typos of a mark?
  • Should notices to the trademark owner ought to be sent before the domain is registered?

TMCH registrations are currently limited to trademarks meeting high verification standards – plus, under the Trademark+Fifty supplementary implementation measure, variations of the mark that have actually been recovered by the rights holder in a UDRP filing or trademark infringement litigation can also be registered. Attempting to register a domain  matching a registered mark or TM+50 variation generates a Trademark Claims Notice to the potential registrant, and UDRP panels have yet to clearly define the weight that will be given to receipt of a Claims Notice in determining whether a subsequent domain registration was made in bad faith.

Finally, as for Trademark Claims, review issues include:

  • Should the Trademark Claims period be extended beyond ninety (90) days?
  • Does a Trademark Claims period create a potential “chilling effect” on genuine registrations, and, if so, how should this be addressed?
  • Is the TMCH providing too much protection for those with a trademark on a generic or descriptive dictionary word, thus allowing a trademark in one category of goods and services to block or postpone the legitimate and rightful use of all others in other areas of goods and services? Are legitimate noncommercial, commercial and individual registrants losing legitimate opportunities to register domain names in New gTLDs?
  • How should the TMCH scope be limited to apply to only the categories of goods and services in which the generic terms in a trademark are protected?
  • Should TM +50 be reversed?

While the review has been designed as a two-phased process to make the workload manageable, and to first address potential modifications of new gTLD RPMs before a subsequent round of new gTLDs is launched, this illustrative list of issues makes clear that determinations made during phase one will inevitably implicate the phase two UDRP review.

There is of course a possibility that the WG will encounter significant internal turbulence, especially if some participants seek to re-litigate every substantive aspect of the new gTLD RPMs as well as of the UDRP. On the other hand, there is tremendous opportunity to seek common ground and undertake procedural reforms that provide greater assurance of consistency and predictability for both rights holders and domain registrants — especially if undertaken within a balanced approach recognizing the legitimate rights and interests of all parties, and acknowledging that ICANN’s proper role is to respect legal rights while refraining from the creation of new extralegal rights.

Anyone with a serious interest in trademark rights, domain monetization, and domain industry operations should give serious consideration to joining this WG, while remaining fully cognizant of the long and potentially difficult road ahead. Important and challenging work will be on the agenda for all who choose to engage as volunteers.

This article was sourced with permission from:
www.internetcommerce.org/ica-counsel-interim-chair-rpms-udrp-wg/

ICANN: Charter Amendments of the GNSO gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group

ICANN logoBrief Overview

Purpose: This public comment proceeding seeks to obtain community input on proposed amendments to the charter of the GNSO’s gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group.

Current Status: Amendments have been approved by the membership of the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group.

Next Steps: The ICANN Board of Directors is expected to review the proposed amendments and take action.

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

The GNSO gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group (RySG) has completed Phase I of the formal ICANN Board Process for approval of community charter amendments and voted to amend its governing Charter documentation. In addition, as part of its Phase II Board Process responsibilities, ICANN staff has assessed the amendments and determined that the proposals do not present any direct fiscal or liability concerns to the ICANN organization.

Accompanying this public comment announcement (see link below) is a document titled Charter of the gTLD Registries Stakeholder Group – Adopted by RySG Vote on 4 November 2015, which reflects the gTLD Registries’ proposed changes in a yellow highlight for all new and replacement text and which identifies deleted language in a “strikeout” font.

In sum, the RySG has amended its existing Charter to address a number of items – including those flagged by the ICANN Board in its Dublin Public Meeting resolution approving the last recent set of RySG Charter amendments (see – Board Resolution 2015.10.22.14). Among them, the most substantial charter amendments proposed by the RySG at this time are in the following areas:

  • Creation of a new class of “Association” members;
  • Changes to the weighted voting categories and measures of the group; and
  • Adjustments to the community fee structure to accommodate the addition of association members.

Section II: Background

The ICANN Bylaws (Article X, Section 5.3) state, “Each Stakeholder Group shall maintain recognition with the ICANN Board.” The ICANN Board has interpreted this language to require that it must formally approve any GNSO Stakeholder Group and/or Constituency Charter amendments.

In September 2013, the Board approved a Process For Amending GNSO Stakeholder Group and Constituency Charters (hereinafter “Process”) establishing four process phases that must be executed to secure formal Board approval of any community governance changes.  Those phases are:

  • Phase I: Amendment Preparation
  • Phase II: Staff Review
  • Phase III: Public Comments
  • Phase IV: Board Review

After receiving a recommendation from the Structural Improvements Committee (SIC), the Board shall either:

  1. Recognize the proposed charter amendment by a simple majority vote; or
  2. Reject the proposed amendment by a supermajority (2/3) vote and provide a specific rationale for its concerns.
  3. If neither above condition is met, the Board will ask for further explanation of the proposed amendments by the community.

Section III: Relevant Resources

Section IV: Additional Information

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/public-comments/rysg-charter-draft-2016-02-22-en

ICANN: GNSO Privacy and Proxy Services Accreditation Issues Policy Development Process Recommendations for ICANN Board Consideration

ICANN participants logoBrief Overview

Purpose: This public comment proceeding seeks to obtain community input prior to Board action on the final recommendations of the Generic Names Supporting Organization Policy Development Process for Privacy & Proxy Services Accreditation Issues.

 Current Status: The GNSO Council has approved the recommendations.Next Steps: The ICANN Board is expected to take action on the approved recommendations.

Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose

At its meeting on 21 January 2016, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) Council unanimously voted to adopt all the recommendations contained in the Final Report from the Working Group that it had chartered to conduct a Policy Development Process (PDP) to develop policy recommendations for ICANN‘s implementation of an Accreditation Program for privacy and proxy service providers. The GNSO‘s adopted recommendations will now be sent to the ICANN Board for its review. In line with the ICANN Bylaws, this public comment forum is being opened so that the community has a reasonable opportunity to comment on the adopted recommendations prior to Board action.

All the final recommendations from the PDP Working Group attained Full Consensus within the Working Group. The Final Report contains over twenty recommendations spanning various aspects of a privacy and proxy services accreditation program, including the inclusion of mandatory terms of service in customer agreements, procedures for relaying to a customer third party requests for disclosure of customer information, a detailed framework for both the submission and processing of requests by intellectual property rights-holders for the disclosure of customer contact information, and de-accreditation.

Section II: Background

The Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) is the contract that governs the relationship between ICANN and its accredited registrars (a directory of accredited registrars can be found at http://www.internic.net/regist.html). Its provisions also may have impacts on registrants and other third parties involved in the domain name system. In June 2013, the ICANN Board approved a new 2013 RAA (the provisions of which can be found at http://www.icann.org/en/resources/registrars/raa/approved-with-specs-27jun13-en.pdf [PDF, 913 KB]). In initiating negotiations for the 2013 RAA between ICANN and the Registrars Stakeholder Group in October 2011, the ICANN Board had also requested an Issue Report from the GNSO that, upon the conclusion of the RAA negotiations, would start a GNSO Policy Development Process (PDP) to address remaining issues not dealt with in the RAA negotiations that would be suited to a PDP. The GNSO Council approved the charter [PDF, 463 KB] for the PDP in October 2013 and a Working Group was formed.

The WG published its Initial Report for public comment on 5 May (https://www.icann.org/public-comments/ppsai-initial-2015-05-05-en). Due to the unusually large volume of comments received (including over 11,000 public comments and almost 150 survey responses), the WG extended its timeline in order to carefully and thoroughly consider all the input received. Having completed its review of all the comments, the WG completed and sent its Final Report to the GNSO Council on 7 December 2015 (http://gnso.icann.org/en/issues/raa/ppsai-final-07dec15-en.pdf [PDF, 1.24 MB]). On 21 January 2016, the GNSO Council voted unanimously to approve all the recommendations contained in the WG‘s Final Report, all of which attained Full Consensus among the WG (http://gnso.icann.org/en/council/resolutions#201601).

In accordance with the ICANN Bylaws, this public comment proceeding is being opened to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the recommendations that were approved by the GNSO Council prior to their review and action by the ICANN Board.

Section III: Relevant Resources

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
https://www.icann.org/public-comments/ppsai-recommendations-2016-02-05-en