The ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee has reiterated its call for the protection of intergovernmental organization acronyms in the new gTLD program, but seems to have given ICANN a way to avoid a nasty confrontation.
In its official Communique from the just-concluded meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the GAC provided the following advice concerning IGOs:
The GAC, together with IGOs, remains committed to continuing the dialogue with NGPC [ICANN's New gTLD Program Committee] on finalising the modalities for permanent protection of IGO acronyms at the second level, by putting in place a mechanism which would:
1. provide for a permanent system of notifications to both the potential registrant and the relevant IGO as to a possible conflict if a potential registrant seeks to register a domain name matching the acronym of that IGO;
2. allow the IGO a timely opportunity to effectively prevent potential misuse and confusion;
3. allow for a final and binding determination by an independent third party in order to resolve any disagreement between an IGO and a potential registrant; and
4. be at no cost or of a nominal cost only to the IGO.
This seems to be a departure from the GAC’s its Durban Communique, in which it had demanded “preventative” measures be put in place to stop third parties registering IGO acronyms.
As we reported earlier this week, the GNSO Council unanimously approved a resolution telling ICANN to remove IGO acronyms from existing block-lists, something the GAC had been demanding.
Now, it seems that ICANN has been given a relatively simple and less confrontational way of accepting the GAC’s watered-down advice.
The Trademark Claims alerts service and Uniform Rapid Suspension dispute resolution process combined would, by my reading, tick all four of the GAC’s boxes.
IGO acronyms do not currently qualify for either, because they’re not trademarks, but if ICANN can figure out a way to allow these strings into the Trademark Clearinghouse, it can probably give the GAC what it wants.
In my view, such a move wouldn’t trample on anyone else’s rights, it would not represent the kind of overkill the GAC originally wanted, nor would it be in conflict with the GNSO’s consensus resolution (which seems to envisage a future in which these acronyms get TMCH protection).
ICANN may have avoided the sticky situation I pondered earlier this week.
The new gTLD program’s Trademark Clearinghouse has almost 15,000 trademarks registered, according to a spokesperson.
We’re told today that there’s an average of about two labels for each registered mark, and that about half of all the marks have been registered for multiple years.
The TMCH offers registrations for one, three or five years.
Trademarks in non-Latin scripts currently account for just 3% (so roughly 450) of the registrations, which may be a cause for concern given that IDNs gTLDs will be many of the first to launch Sunrise periods.
Trademark owners take note: you have less than 24 hours to get your marks registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse if you want to take advantage of early bird discounted pricing.
A TMCH spokesperson told DI today that the early bird offer ends at 1200 UTC November 5. Its “agents” (registrars) were notified a week ago and today were given a final 24-hour grace period, she said.
This may come as something of a surprise to mark owners who haven’t been paying attention.
When the Clearinghouse went live in March, the TMCH said that the early registration offer would end when the first Sunrise period for the first new gTLD went live.
At the time, ICANN rules stated that registries would have to give 30 days notice before launching a Sunrise.
But these rules recently changed, giving registries the ability to launch immediately as long as the Sunrise runs for at least 60 days rather than the original 30.
And with dotShabaka Registry, one of the first four new gTLDs to go live, opting for the 60-day Sunrise, that means early bird pricing is ending sooner than might have been expected.
Rather than direct discounts, the early bird offer instead awards extra “status points” that can be accumulated to secure lower bulk registration prices.
Trademark owners would have to submit quite a lot of trademarks, or use an agent that is passing the discounts on to its customers, in order to qualify for the lower prices.
In this penultimate entry in the dotShabaka Diary series, dotShabaka general manager Yasmin Omer officially announces the launch of the Sunrise period for شبكة., the first new gTLD to enter this phase.
Saturday 2 November 2013
It’s with great pleasure that I can finally say that we are the first new gTLD Registry Operator to commence its Sunrise Period! I’m truly excited about taking this TLD to the Arabic speaking world and revolutionising their Internet experience. So what’s happened since the last entry?
We received, and responded to, the TLD on-boarding Information Request from ICANN. New gTLD Registry Operators (and their Registry Services Providers) should be prepared to promptly provide ICANN with technical information regarding:
- The Registry Operator’s provision of the zone file access service;
- Bulk thin registration data access to ICANN;
- Data Escrow – Registry Reporting Interface;
- Implementation of the URS system;
- EPP extensions for the TLD; and
- EPP SLA Monitoring.
We requested the registration of our IDN Table on the IANA Repository of IDN Practices.
We obtained approval of our TLD Startup Information from ICANN. It’s certainly clear from our interactions with ICANN that the process of, and the requirements for, obtaining IBM’s acceptance of Sunrise dates and ICANN’s approval of TLD Startup Information, is yet to be defined. As a result, there was a delay in obtaining ICANN’s approval of our TLD Startup Information.
If you’re a new gTLD Registry Operator and you want your TLD Startup Information approved quickly, here are some tips:
- Once you have a fair idea of when your Sunrise will commence (could be before you’re delegated), reach out to IBM independently and request a number of potential dates. The team at IBM has been very responsive by promptly accepting our Sunrise dates.
- Include your eligibility policy for general registration with your TLD Startup Information. Yes, ICANN has explicitly stated that this is not a requirement they have imposed but it seems that they need it.
- Remember that ICANN’s review is a legal review. Ensure that your policies very clearly demonstrate your compliance with the relevant requirements. Use diagrams.
- Be prepared to respond to ICANN or IBM at any time – they’re both on opposite sides of the world to each other. ICANN thankfully ensure that the process is interactive, so be prepared to interact.
Good luck to everyone. We look forward to being joined by many more New gTLD Registry Operators in Sunrise.
Read previous and future diary entries here.
The Trademark Clearinghouse has started accepting submissions under the new “Trademark+50″ service, with prices starting at about $76.
It’s now called the Abused DNL (for Domain Name Label) service.
It allows trademark owners to add up to 50 additional strings — which must have been cybersquatted according to a court or a UDRP panel — to each record they have in the TMCH.
To validate labels found in court decisions, it will cost mark owners $200 and then $1 per abused string. For UDRP cases, the validation fee is $75.
If you’re on the “advanced” (read: bulk) fee structure, the prices drop to $150 and $50 respectively.
To add a UDRP case covering 25 domains to the Abused DNL would cost $100 in the first year and $25 a year thereafter, for example.
Adding a trademark to the TMCH costs between $95 and $150 a year, depending on your fee structure.