Tag Archives: gTLDs

Trademark Holders Demand Flesh and Blood on New gTLDs

Trademark representatives never give up. They are like a dog with a bone, and the only time they are silent is if they have their way 100 per cent.Originally decrying ICANN’s proposal of new gTLDs as the end of the world, the International Trademark Association (INTA) seems to now accept they will happen. But INTA continues to wrestle with the gTLD bone in ensuring that when they are introduced, they have their way with trademark protection.The latest salvo from INTA is a letter to Peter Dengate Thrush and Rod Beckstrom, ICANN’s chair and CEO/president respectively, saying they support “ICANN’s identification of trademark protection and an analysis of economic impact as two of the overarching issues that must be resolved before any new gTLDs are introduced.”INTA believes “the resolution of these overarching issues is central to the objective of ensuring consumers are adequately protected and registrants and internet users are not disparately impacted by the introduction of new gTLDs.”The letter goes on to say INTA “applaud[s] the recommendation set forth in ICANN’s recently commissioned economic report, ‘An Economic Framework for the Analysis of the Expansion of Generic Top-Level Domain Names,’ to conduct a study to assess the harms associated with intellectual property abuse and related forms of consumer fraud in the domain name system, including how the current gTLDs have affected intellectual property and consumers since their introduction. Indeed trademark owners believe that such a study is not only a sensible recommendation, but an essential prerequisite before any rollout of new gTLDs.”INTA kindly offers to assist ICANN “with the preparation and completion of such a study”. No doubt it never occurred to them that they would like to ensure their views were taken into account!However ICANN seem to be saying that the IP lawyers have had their say, with Dengate Thrush saying at the recent Internet Governance Forum in Vilnius that they:
have had their chance to make all of their cases in their five-year process and the intellectual property protection brought in place is with a delicate balance with everyone in the community not just with IP lawyers IP lawyers always want more protection IP lawyers always want their brands to be stronger I’m one myself I’m a specialist IP lawyer. What we have had to do is balance the interest of the IP lawyers against all of the other constituencies free speech if you don’t want these things people who say that each of the brands in TLDs do not equate to brands that there are other elements and other values. So there’s a lot of debate that’s gone into this it’s not just simply somebody saying: Let’s do it over. Let’s do everything in a hurry it’s taken five years and resolved with a lot of compromised discussions of which the IP lawyers have been a huge part so just some comments from me.The letter to ICANN from Heather Steinmeyer, President of the International Trademark Association is on the ICANN website at:
icann.org/correspondence/steinmeyer-to-dengate-thrush-08sep10-en.pdfThe transcript of the “NewgGTLDs and IDNs for Development Importance and Obstacles” session at the IGF in Vilnius is available from:
www.intgovforum.org/cms/component/content/article/102-transcripts2010/634-61

ICANN: Public Comment: Community Working Group Report on Implementation of GNSO New gTLD Recommendation Number 6

ICANN logoThe Cross Community Working Group (CWG) on GNSO Recommendation 6 has published its Report on Implementation of GNSO New gTLD Recommendation No. 6. The Report describes various recommendations that were supported by a consensus of CWG members to improve the implementation plan for Recommendation No. 6. This Report [PDF, 1.06 MB] (CWG Report) is now posted for public comment.

The public comment period ends on 22 October 2010.

Background:

ICANN is in the implementation planning stage of defining the processes for adding new generic top – level domain name to the Domain Name System. The policy recommendations to guide the introduction of new gTLDs were created by the GNSO over a two year effort. Among these GNSO policy recommendations is Recommendation 6, which states that:

Strings must not be contrary to generally accepted legal norms relating to morality and public order that are recognized under international principles of law.

A cross-community effort involving members of the GAC, GNSO, and the At Large Community has resulted in the publication of the CWG Report that addresses concerns that have surfaced from the ICANN Community regarding the proposed implementation of Rec6. This Report describes the results of this bottom-up process, and includes recommendations proposed by the CWG for improving the implementation plan proposed in the Draft Applicant Guidebook-v4 related to procedures for addressing objectionable strings, while protecting internationally recognized freedom of expression rights.

This public comment forum is an opportunity to comment on any of the proposed recommendations that are described the Report. The Report will be posted for a public comment period that closes on 22 October 2010. Comments can be sent to cwg-report-rec6@icann.org and reviewed at forum.icann.org/lists/cwg-report-rec6/.

Additional Information:

  1. To review the proposed implementation plan for Recommendation 6 in the Draft Applicant Guidebook, version 4, please refer to Module 3: icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/comments-4-en.htm
  2. For information on the GAC’s concerns regarding Recommendation 6, please refer to the letter dated 4 August 2010: icann.org/correspondence/gac-to-dengate-thrush-04aug10-en.pdf [PDF, 235 KB]
  3. The ALAC Statement on Morality and Public Order, 4 March 2009 is posted at: atlarge.icann.org/files/atlarge/correspondence-05mar09-en.pdf [PDF, 344 KB]

This ICANN announcement was sourced from:
icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-2-22sep10-en.htm

Geographic and Specialty Names Dominate Proposed gTLDs

Over 100 proposals have been publicly announced for when ICANN begins taking applications for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) according to statistics compiled by Adrenaline TLD, themselves likely applicants for a number of sporting-related gTLDs such as .SKI, .BIKE and .SURF.The proposals are dominated by geographical and specialty strings and these make up 87 of the 104 possibilities and do not include internationalise domain name extensions. There are also duplicates with more than one applicant at this stage for several gTLDs including .GAY, .SPORT and .ECO.According to Adrenaline, there are three proposed applications for brand names, 14 for community groups, 48 geographical TLDs and 39 specialty TLDs.”Domain name extensions are the corner stone of everything that happens on the internet,” said Rob Rozicki, Adrenaline Ltd’s New TLD Evangelist.”All our business, social and cultural experiences online would not have been possible without the domain name system we have today. The internet is now at a pivotal point with the introduction of new TLDs to expand the reach and enrich the internet users experience by being able to relate the extension directly back to the content like never before. Some New TLDs will be hugely successful, some will be failures and some will just hang on but all will be pioneers in the future of the internet.”The list also includes three brand names that have publicly expressed an interest in applying for a gTLD – Canon, Deloitte and UNICEF. However it is expected that many companies are holding their cards close to their chest and will not reveal their intentions until applications for new gTLDs are accepted. While others will be waiting to see what their competitors do and how the introduction of new gTLDs is received.Of the 104 proposed gTLD applications, these include geographical applications for .BERLIN, .BCN, .PARIS, .KÖLN, .MADRID, .AFRICA and .HONGKONG. Proposed specialty applicants include .WEB, .WIKI, .RUGBY, .POKER, .GMBH and .FILM. There are also proposed gTLDs for communities such as .GAY, .KURD, .IRISH, .KURD, .GREEN and .ECO.This article was originally published on the eBrand Services website here. eBrandServices specialise in domain name brand management services.For more on Rob Rozicki’s research into new gTLDs, check out his blog here and in particular his article New TLDs – Its All in the Tea Leaves. http://robrozicki.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/new-tlds—its-all-in-the-tea-leaves/

Casino.com Expresses Interest in gTLD Application

Casino.com, an online gambling site, seems to be interested in applying for its own generic Top Level Domain assuming ICANN approves gTLDs and begins accepting applications.Domain Incite has pointed out that in a news release on gTLDs and .XXX, Casino.com has said “[a]nalysts are wondering if the same thing will happen in the online gambling industry as well.”While noting that the .XXX has supporters and opponents, the news release says:
“The grouping of adult oriented and sites with sexual content under the domain of .xxx may indicate a similar future for online gambling sites such as www.casino.com. The decision was made in hopes that it would help users get better results when searching online.”Casino.com offers traditional card and table games, as well as slots, video poker and progressive bonus jackpot games in a number of European languages and operates out of Gibraltar.

What the ICANN Brussels Meeting Means for New gTLDs: Minds + Machines

The recent ICANN meeting held in Brussels was judged a success by Minds + Machines’ Antony Van Couvering, whose company is likely to be behind applications for several new generic Top Level Domains when ICANN eventually begins taking applications.

Van Couvering writes that the recent meeting “may become known as the meeting where the dust finally began to settle. Long-standing issues were settled, compromises were reached, no-one complained too much about the latest version of the Applicant Guidebook, and the Board stood by its project plan dates, even scheduling a Board retreat to solve remaining issues. Finally, there were no surprise “gotcha!” delays that gTLD applicants have been used to seeing at ICANN meeting. With one possible exception…”

He writes of the proposed September board retreat, .XXX decision, decisions on intellectual property and the Vertical Integration Policy Development Process as all good news.

The only sticking point from Van Couvering’s point of view was MOPO (aka MAPA or Morality and Public Order). This was quite a strange discussion with the Government Advisory Committee saying ICANN’s approach to declaring which new proposed gTLDs were acceptable “was not acceptable and must be changed.”

Van Couvering concludes that “the final shape of the applicant guidebook is becoming clear. With the possible exception of the MOPO issue, solutions to the remaining problems are visible in outline and in many cases in great detail. There are several efforts underway, including the Board retreat and various hurry-up working groups, to get the new gTLD program to the finish line. There’s always a chance that the timing will slip, but I would say not by much — we’re sticking to our timeline: most indications are that ICANN’s next meeting, in early December 2010 in Cartagena, Colombia, will finally produce a starting date for new gTLDs.”

To read this posting by Antony Van Couvering on the Minds + Machines blog in full, see:
www.mindsandmachines.com/2010/07/what-the-icann-brussels-meeting-means-for-new-gtlds/

.XXX Closer, Chinese IDNs Approved Amid Cybersecurity Concerns and gTLD Delays at Brussels ICANN Meeting

In a week where domain name security, the possibility of blocking certain domain name character strings due to their use in cybercrime and no set date for the taking of applications for new Generic Top Level Domains, there was some good news at the 38th ICANN meeting held in Brussels this week that concluded Friday. ICANN’s board voted to enter negotiations with a view to approving the controversial .XXX Top Level Domain while Chinese internationalised domain names approved for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong in the usual board meeting that concludes each meeting.The .XXX resolution has been previously been rejected by the ICANN board, but after an independent review that was critical of ICANN’s processes, the ICANN board has been reconsidering its stance. And on Friday the board passed a resolution that called for the expedited reconsideration for ICM Registry to run .XXX as a sponsored Top Level Domain. The vote was unanimous with the exception of two abstentions.However it appears the decision did not make the board happy, with Kieren McCarthy noting the board approved .XXX “almost unanimously (two abstentions) but rather grumpily, however, with several members saying they were ‘uncomfortable’ with the decision and appearing the blame the ‘process’ for forcing them to make a decision. The approving resolutions also stuck in several approval steps, which more members grumpily pointed to.”The resolution also called for the ICANN board to check ICM Registry is suitably qualified to operate such a registry and for “ICANN staff to proceed into draft contract negotiations with ICM, taking into account the GAC advice received to date”. The Board has approved a detailed set of next steps for the application, including expedited due diligence, negotiations on a draft registry agreement, and consultation with ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee.”The board reached a carefully considered decision, paying close attention to the findings of the Independent Review Panel, and to the extensive public comment on our proposed action,” said ICANN Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush.”Today’s decision is a validation of ICANN’s transparency and accountability,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer.The .XXX TLD is viewed as a potential community site for the adult entertainment industry. The application has been controversial for several reasons with governments, adult and Christian groups all voicing criticism.Chairman Stuart Lawley said of the decision: “It’s been a long time coming, but I’m excited about the fact that .xxx will soon become a reality. This is great news.”ICM Registry said in a statement that their expectations are “that this step will proceed smoothly and will not impede the roll-out of .XXX and we expect to go live with .XXX domains at the start of 2011, if not sooner. We have 110,000 pre-reservations and expect that number to increase now that ICANN has formally approved our application.”The approval of Chinese internationalised domain names (IDNs) for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong was a welcome addition to those already approved and is likely to see more Chinese-language internet users online, and easier access for those already online.”This approval is a significant change for Chinese language users worldwide,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN. “One fifth of the world speaks Chinese and that means we just increased the potential online accessibility for roughly a billion people.”The new IDN country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and the associated organizations approved by the Board are:

  • CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center)
  • HKIRC (Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited)
  • TWNIC (Taiwan Network Information Center).

Meanwhile the new generic Top Level Domain process continues to move forward at a glacial rate, continually thwarted by trademark holder groups who seem never to be happy. While ICANN have not given dates as to when they expect to take applications for new gTLDs such as .BERLIN and .CANON, it is expected there will be a board retreat around September to finalise the application process.And there were also controversial and disappointing concerns expressed by the Governmental Advisory Committee about censoring domain names that could or are used in cybercrime.The next ICANN meeting will take place in Cartagena, Colombia, 5-10 December 2010.For Kieren McCarthy’s excellent coverage of the ICANN meeting, see:
kierenmccarthy.com.

ICANN's New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook Gives Added Protection to Trademark Holders

ICANN logoICANN released the fourth version of their Draft Applicant Guidebook for potential new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) applicants last week with several issues of interest to brand owners and trademark holders. The latest draft of the guidebook has changed in only a few areas from version three and will be a topic of discussion at the upcoming ICANN meeting in Brussels, commencing on 21 June. Continue reading ICANN's New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook Gives Added Protection to Trademark Holders

ICANN’s New gTLD Draft Applicant Guidebook Gives Added Protection to Trademark Holders

ICANN released the fourth version of their Draft Applicant Guidebook for potential new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) applicants last week with several issues of interest to brand owners and trademark holders. The latest draft of the guidebook has changed in only a few areas from version three and will be a topic of discussion at the upcoming ICANN meeting in Brussels, commencing on 21 June.To take into account the views of trademark holders, ICANN has proposed a number of mechanisms to minimise their potential costs. These include a Uniform Rapid Suspension System, a Trademark Clearinghouse and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Proposal.According to an analysis by Minds + Machines, a consultancy that assists applicants in the application process for new gTLDs, ICANN is expecting around 500 applications for new gTLDs, although there could be a significant number of duplicate or conflicting applications.”This means that they’re intending to pass approximately 90% of the applications in other words, ICANN’s intent is not to fail applications by finding trivial faults, but rather to simply make sure that they’re operationally and financially sound,” writes Antony Van Couvering from Minds + Machines.The latest draft has taken into account community consultation and includes some changes to the above and more. Some of the changes are:

  • incorporation of trademark protections, including improvements to the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS), the Trademark Clearinghouse (TM Clearinghouse), and the Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Proposal (PDDRP)
  • changes to rules for geographic TLDs, including a prohibition on country names as gTLDs and a requirement for the permission of national governments for applications for capital city names, although where the city name is also a generic word, for example, there may be exceptions
  • a new gTLD Registry transition process model, including provisions for emergency transition in the case of prolonged Registry technical outages
  • a model for providing centralised zone file access (ZFA) to aid in combating malicious conduct
  • a revised base Registry agreement, the contract future registries must sign with ICANN, including new features such as:
  • o Registry-Registrar cross-ownership language -proposed position pending the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) policy-development work
  • o Emergency Registry transition provision -to be used for protection of registrants in the event of prolonged Registry technical outage
  • o special new agreement provisions for governmental and inter-governmental organization (IGO) applicants -based on negotiations with Universal Postal Union (UPU) for .post (subject to modification for different circumstances of other similar organizations)
  • o new “hybrid” process for future amendments -based on consultations with Registries and others
  • o new provisions for centralised registry zone file access (ZFA).

The trademark protections offered in the guidebook give trademark holders strong protection. There are three main proposals to assist in trademark protection, these being:

  • a Trademark Clearinghouse that requires registries to recognise trademarks that are nationally or multi-nationally registered.
  • a mandatory Uniform Rapid Suspension to enable prompt action on disputes involving trademarks
  • upon the recommendation of the Implementation Recommendation Team and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that one of the rights protection mechanisms for trademark holders should be a trademark post-delegation dispute resolution procedure (Trademark PDDRP) to afford trademark holders the right to proceed against registry operators who have acted in bad faith, with the intent to profit from the systemic registration of infringing domain names (or systemic cybersquatting) or who have otherwise set out to use the gTLD for an improper purpose.

Some other notable changes picked up by Minds + Machines were:

  • an expanded role for public comment that could allow for a wide range of objections to proposed gTLDs that could come from powerful interests
  • an expanded background check on applicants that takes into account issues such as bribery, corruption and terrorism as well as intellectual property violations
  • new and/or innovative uses of gTLDs such as .TEL will require special permission from ICANN and that the use will not harm the stability of the DNS

For more information on ICANN’s new gTLD programme, see icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/explanatory-memoranda-4-en.htm.Minds + Machines have published a number of articles on new gTLDs, not just on the draft applicant guidebook, and these are available from their website at www.mindsandmachines.com.This article was originally written and prepared for eBrand Services, specialists in managing domain name portfolios.

Bahrain Looks For Ideas for IDN Application

[news release] The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain (TRA) this week published the Arab League’s Request for Information on the Management of the Internet Generic Top-Level Domain “.arab” and “عرب.”.

TRA’s ICT Director Mr. Ahmed Aldoseri said “Under the leadership of TRA Bahrain, the Arab League is currently gathering information for the purpose of finalizing its plan to apply for the “.arab” and ” .” top-level domains and establish the registries pertaining to Generic Top-Level Domain.”

Mr. Aldoseri went on to say that “.arab” and “عرب.” will encourage Internet use for those who cannot deal with Latin script and will encourage and increase the Arabic content on the Internet.”

The purpose of this Request for Information is to gather ideas and validate proposed concepts to establish and run the domains in the most efficient manner possible. The League of Arab States has decided to involve individuals, companies, organizations or government bodies and other interested parties to participate in enriching existing ideas and approaches that help in establishing the high-level organizational, structural, management, marketing, technical and financial functions of the intended registry for the “.arab” and “عرب.”.

The New “.arab” and “عرب.” domain name program will create opportunities for consumers, businesses, organizations and governments within the Member States of the Arab League and beyond to underline their identity using their own language and script.

Work conducted for the Arabic domain names is spearheaded by the Arab League Steering Committee for Arabic top-Level Domain Names, which is currently presided by Mr. Aldoseri. Other member countries of the Steering Committee are Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and
Morocco.

The Request for Information document can be found on TRA’s website at www.tra.org.bh.

Interested parties can submit their responses to this document directly to the General Secretariat of the Arab League by 4 pm on Thursday 17 June 2010.

About TRA
Since its establishment in 2002 the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain (TRA) has been working with government, consumers, operators and investors to develop the Kingdom of Bahrain into the region’s most modern communications hub and to facilitate the growth of the market. As an exemplary Regulator for the region, TRA independently carries out its duties in a transparent and non-discriminatory manner. More information about TRA can be viewed at www.tra.org.bh

This news release, along with more information and future updates, is available from www.tra.org.bh/en/newsroom.asp.

.SPORT Requests ICANN Banish Individual Sport gTLDs

In a curious letter to ICANN dated 13 May 2010, the .SPORT Policy Advisory Council has requested that ICANN block any applications for any sport-related generic Top Level Domains once they begin taking applications.In an earlier letter to ICANN dated 20 August 2009 on the same issue, .SPORT say they are “emphatically oppose any diminution of .SPORT and will take all steps necessary to ensure that the top-level domain for our sector is properly protected. We are concerned that ICANN may be prematurely entertaining a process that will allow proliferation of names in sub-categories or individual sports, which will lead to confusion in the marketplace of users. We cannot accept ICANN approving any applications for top-level domains that could diminish the solidarity implied with .SPORT.”.SPORT appears to want to monopolise any sports-related gTLD, in an attempt to maximise their income and minimising their competition.To see the letters from .SPORT to ICANN, go to:
icann.org/correspondence/baumann-to-dengate-thrush-13may10-en.pdf
icann.org/correspondence/baumann-to-dengate-thrush-20aug09-en.pdf