Verisign has finally clarified how it proposes to let existing registrants of internationalized domain names grab the matching domains in its 12 forthcoming IDN gTLDs.
The company has applied for transliterations of .com in nine non-Latin scripts and .net in three, but its applications were light on details about existing registrants’ rights.
But today Verisign senior vice president Pat Kane outlined precisely how name allocations will be handled.
At first glance it sounds like good news for existing IDN registrants, particularly domainers whose investments in IDN .com and .net domains are about to become much more valuable.
If you already own a .com domain that is an IDN at the second level, you will have exclusive rights to that IDN string in all other .com transliterations, but not .net transliterations.
That works the other way around too: if you own the IDN .net domain, you get the matching second level in all of Verisign’s .net transliterations.
Owning the Chinese word for “beer” in Latin .com would not give you rights to the Thai word for “beer” in the Thai transliteration of .com, but you could buy the Chinese equivalent.
The rules seem to apply to future registrations too.
You could register the Hebrew for “beer” in the Hebrew transliteration of .com and you would also get the exclusive right to that Hebrew string in Latin .com.
There would be no obligation, and you wouldn’t lose your right to register matching domains if you chose not to immediately exercise it, Kane said. He wrote:
Two primary objectives in our strategy to implement new IDN gTLDs are, where feasible, to avoid costs to consumers and businesses from purely defensive registrations in these new TLDs, as well as to avoid end-user confusion.
It all sounds pretty fair to me, based on Kane’s blog post.
There’s a hint that trademark rights protection mechanisms may complicate matters, which has apparently been discussed in a letter to ICANN, but if it’s been published anywhere I’ve been unable to find a copy.