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Clarity for .brands in new Guidebook

Kevin Murphy, May 31, 2011, 13:27:49 (UTC), Domain Policy

Companies planning to apply for a “.brand” top-level domain have had some of their concerns put to rest in the latest version of ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook.

Potential .brands were worried that ICANN might try to redelegate their trademarked TLDs to a third-party operator in the event that they decided to discontinue the domain.

They were also concerned that the Code of Conduct would require them to offer equitable access to all accredited registrars – a ridiculous situation for a single-registrant TLD.

Both of these problems seem to have been addressed in the new Guidebook, which enables registries to ignore the Code of Conduct and redelegation scenario if they can satisfy three criteria.

They have to show to ICANN’s satisfaction that “all domain name registrations in the TLD are registered to, and maintained by, Registry Operator for its own exclusive use”, that it does not sell to third parties, and that to redelegate the TLD or enforce the Code “is not necessary to protect the public interest”.

These changes make the .brand proposition a lot more realistic, less risky, and may put many concerns to rest.

They do stop short of requests from potential .brands such as Microsoft, which wanted a TLD operator’s express written consent to be required before a redelegation took place, however.

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