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IP interests should join the Trademark Clearinghouse meeting on Tuesday

Kevin Murphy, October 5, 2012, Domain Policy

ICANN is to hold a webcast and teleconference next week to discuss alternative models for the new gTLDs Trademark Clearinghouse.

It will be the last time the community gets to discuss the issue before ICANN 45 kicks off in Toronto next weekend.

Neustar, ARI Registry Services, Verisign and Demand Media have jointly proposed two models for the mandatory new gTLD Sunrise period and Trademark Claims service that differ from ICANN’s.

While the proposals are enjoying general murmurs of support from the domain name industry side of the community, the trademark lobby has yet to have any substantial presence in the talks.

Most of the discussions to date have been hindered by this lack of input, and by a frustrating lack of hard feedback from ICANN and its two contractors, IBM and Deloitte.

Tuesday’s meeting might be a good opportunity for members of the Business Constituency and IP Constituency to brush up on the issues before Toronto.

The meeting will start at 9am US Eastern time, according to Neustar vice president Jeff Neuman, who provided the following information:

The documents are posted at:

http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/about/trademark-clearinghouse/sunrise-model-26sep12-en.pdf
http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/about/trademark-clearinghouse/claims-model-26sep12-en.pdf
http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/about/trademark-clearinghouse/model-issues-26sep12-en.pdf

The call-in information is:

Conference ID: 93759
Dial-in numbers for each country: http://www.adigo.com/icann/

Adobe Connect Room at: http://icann.adobeconnect.com/tmch/

.cialis and .chatr new gTLD bids dumped

Kevin Murphy, October 4, 2012, Domain Registries

Two more new gTLD applications have been formally withdrawn.

ELi Lilly & Co has dropped its bid for .cialis and Rogers Communications has withdrawn its .chatr application.

Both were dot-brand applications — Cialis is a drug and Chatr is a Canadian wireless company — and neither was contested, though there are four applications for the very similar .chat.

This makes a total of six dead bids, following Google’s withdrawal of .est, .and and .are and German pump-maker KSB withdrew its dot-brand .ksb.

From ICANN’s statements, we know that there’s at least one other bid that is in the process of being withdrawn, but its identity is not yet known.

No more Club Med? America and Africa would lose out under ICANN meetings overhaul

Kevin Murphy, October 2, 2012, Domain Policy

ICANN is having a big rethink about how it decides where to drag the community to on its thrice-yearly meetings.

A proposal published tonight would reduce the number of cities it visits between 2014 and 2016 from nine to seven, meaning Africa and North America would both lose a meeting.

ICANN says its meetings are getting bigger and it’s getting harder to find suitable locations that it hasn’t already been to:

As ICANN Meetings have increased in size and scope, the number of facilities capable of hosting an ICANN Meeting has decreased considerably. In addition, the number of facilities that actually meet all of the established meeting location selection criteria is very limited.

ICANN Meetings have already been held in more than 40 different cities worldwide. It is becoming increasingly difficult to identify new hosts, as well as new host cities with the appropriate facilities.

Under the new proposal, ICANN would pre-select conference centers worldwide that are big enough, are easy to get to, have decent internet access, have plenty of nearby hotels and so forth.

It reckons it could save money by negotiating multi-year deals with such venues, but that this would mean a reduced number of locations.

Under ICANN’s current plan, 2014-2016 would see two meetings in Europe, two in North America, two in Asia-Pacific, two in Africa, and one in Latin America. Each would be in a different city.

The new plan would increase Europe and Asia-Pacific to three meetings each, but in four countries instead of six. Africa and North America would both lose a meeting. Latin America would still have one meeting.

ICANN wants to know what you think about this idea. I can see it being divisive along predictable lines.

RRPproxy and Hexonet offering new gTLD pre-regs

Kevin Murphy, October 2, 2012, Domain Registrars

Two reseller-oriented registrars this week have enabled their resellers to start taking new gTLD pre-registrations.

Key-Systems said its RRPproxy API and web interface now support pre-regs for hundreds of applied-for gTLDs, noting that the transactions are “an expression of interest without any commitment”.

The company seems to have filtered out the obvious dot-brands, but it’s still offering some gTLDs — such as .antivirus and .lifeinsurance — whose applicants are planning single-registrant models.

Separately today, Hexonet launched its Expressions Of Interest offering to enable its resellers to take “non-binding requests” for domains in possible forthcoming gTLDs.

Opinions are mixed about whether these kinds of services are good for the industry’s reputation. There’s no guarantee that these gTLDs will launch, or whether these registrars will qualify to sell them.

ICM files $120m lawsuit over Manwin’s .xxx “boycott”

Kevin Murphy, October 1, 2012, Domain Registries

ICM Registry has counter-sued YouPorn owner Manwin Licensing, looking for at least $120 million in damages, saying the porn giant is using its market power to sideline the .xxx domain.

The company claims that Manwin’s antitrust lawsuit, filed last October, is merely one of several attacks against its business.

The counter-suit alleges that Manwin, after trying and failing to invest in ICM, illegally restrained trade by forcing its business partners not to do business with ICM.

The suit (pdf) reads:

Manwin has utilized its dominance in the adult entertainment industry to encourage the wholesale boycott of the .XXX TLD in the industry in order to destroy any competition tat may arise from the commercialization of .XXX and has secured agreement, either express or implied, by those within the industry that they will not do business with .XXX.

Manwin, for example, “coerced .XXX spokesmodels to end relationships with ICM” and “conditioned contracts with third parties on their non-involvement with the .XXX TLD”, according to ICM.

The counterclaims were filed in a California court on Friday, as the latest stage of the two companies’ ongoing legal battle.

The registry is looking for $40 million in damages for Sherman Act violations, trebled.

Manwin claims ICM and ICANN broke US competition law by setting up the .xxx “monopoly”, which both ICANN and ICM deny.