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56 more new gTLDs pass evaluation

ICANN’s evaluators have passed 56 more new gTLD applications through Initial Evaluation.
The latest weekly batch of published results cover bids for the following strings:

.aig, .airforce, .art, .axa, .baby, .basketball, .bid, .business, .bzh, .cal, .center, .ceo, .cisco, .cloud, .coach, .codes, .contractors, .cpa, .dell, .diet, .docomo, .duns, .durban, .esurance, .film, .forex, .goo, .got, .guide, .hgtv, .hotels, .itau, .mattel, .mcd, .mcdonalds, .melbourne, .mobile, .mobily, .monash, .nowtv, .onl, .paris, .passagens, .plumbing, .poker, .property, .red, .safety, .silk, .study, .talk, .travelguard, .webcam, .weibo, .wolterskluwer and موبايلي. (Arabic for “Mobily”)

There are now exactly 300 applications with passing scores on IE, one that failed, and 49 that despite their prioritization numbers have yet to receive an answer one way or the other.

First seven TMCH agents approved

Kevin Murphy, April 2, 2013, Domain Services

The Trademark Clearinghouse has listed its first seven approved trademark submission agents.
These are the companies that are able to secure bulk discounts for submitted marks to the TMCH.
The first seven are NetNames, Corporation Service Company, SafeNames, MailClub, Key-Systems, Net-Chinese, which are all domain registrars too, and the Law Offices of S.J. Christine Yang, which isn’t.
Holders of large trademark portfolios are also allowed to become agents in their own right, but most TMCH submissions are expected to be carried out via these third parties.
The full list is here.
The cost of submitting trademarks, if you’re an agent, can be worked out using the TMCH Cost Calculator.

ICANN tones down power grab in new gTLD contract

Kevin Murphy, April 2, 2013, Domain Policy

ICANN has published a new version of its Registry Agreement for new gTLD operators that waters down the controversial unilateral right to amend provisions.
The revised RA, available for review here, makes it harder for ICANN to force new rules on registries without their consent, at least when compared to the version published in February.
The Special Amendment process is designed to allow ICANN to change the contract when it’s in the public interest.
DI outlined the changes to the process last week.
While most of the changes we described have in fact made it to the published RA, we were wrong on one count: despite what we reported, ICANN directors with conflicts of interest will not be able to vote.
That means representatives of registries and registrars won’t get a say when the board discusses their contracts.
A couple of other significant changes are apparent:

  • Concessions to dot-brand registries. It would now be harder for ICANN to redelegate a dot-brand to another operator if the registry abandons its gTLD. ICANN has never had any intention of doing so, of course, but the relative lack of safeguards have been making dot-brand applicants nervous for years. Now, existing intellectual property rights would be taken into consideration during redelegation decisions.
  • More secrecy. There’s a new section on “confidential information”, along with references to it sprinkled throughout, designed to protect trade secrets registries may disclose to ICANN.

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade is expected to play hard-ball on these changes, according to recent reports.
Because registries get a perpetual right of renewal, and because it’s uncertain how the power balance will hang in policy-making, ICANN believes it would be irresponsible to sign an RA that does not give it the right to step in an protect the public interest in future.