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Archive for March, 2010

Earlier this month, ICANN’s 37th international meeting in Nairobi concluded.  Safenames, along with the rest of the Internet and trademark communities, were following the meeting closely as it was expected that many decisions regarding the proposed “New gTLDs” would be finalized by the ICANN Board.  However, few official decisions were made.  While ICANN stated that it remains committed to the new gTLD program, the timing of an official launch date for new TLDs remains unclear and just one key decision was handed down by the Board and one decision was pushed to the Generic Names Supporting Organization (gNSO). 

ICANN chose to proceed with the current implementation process for launch of the New gTLD Program, rather than adopting a new proposal to institute an “Expressions of Interest” (EOI), a pre-registration process that was intended to serve as a “fast-track” for those companies and individuals wishing to apply for a new generic top-level domain (gTLD).  Under the EOI proposal, an upfront payment of $50,000 dollars would have been paid to ICANN as a deposit against the $185,000 new TLD application fee.  The current process still has a number of hurdles to overcome with the ICANN community before we expect to see approval by the board.

There are three main issues that have direct impact to the trademark community and must be resolved before new TLD will be approved.  These issues include:

  • Trademark Holder Clearinghouse – A universal database for trademark holders that would be used by all registries during the trademark sunrise period.  This would not be a reserved list, rather a simplified process for validating trademark holders when a new TLD is launched.
  • Uniform Resolution Suspension (URS) Process – A process for trademark holders similar to a UDRP, however URS would be done completely online and could be submitted in bulk.  Another key difference to a UDRP is that domains would only suspended in a URS and not turned over to the trademark holder. 
  • Post Delegation Dispute Mechanism – A formal process to handle systemic abuse by a registry.  This would address the issue of a registry facilitating trademark violations or not taking the appropriate steps to address trademark issues after a TLD has delegated.

Several ICANN constituency groups along with ICANN staff are working on the specific details for each of these items.  The recommendations of the ICANN community and staff are expected to help the Board decide if these should be included in the new TLD process and how the should be implemented, if it is determined that they must be part of the process.

The ICANN Board also decided push the decision of allowing vertical integration in the domain name registration space to the gNSO.  There is current requirement that a distinct business separation must exist between registries (wholesale) and registrars (retail).  While this issue may have little impact to the trademark community, it was an important topic for the greater Internet community and the open issue that has to be resolved prior to the launch of new gTLDs.

The Public Comment Period remains open until April 1, 2010 for new TLD issues.  If you wish to send comments to ICANN on this matter, please visit http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/comments-analysis-en.htm.  ICANN has stated that it will increase its efforts on communicating the plans for new gTLDs across the globe and also resolving of remaining issues.  We expect that a final draft of the Applicant Guidebook (DAG 4.0) will be published for comment prior to the next ICANN Meeting, to be held in Brussels on June 20-25, 2010.

Safenames will continue to keep you updated as we learn more about new developments with the new gTLD program.

On March 15th 1985 Symbolics Inc., the now defunct computer company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts entered the history books with an Internet address ending in “.com”. Shortly after symbolics.com, another five .com domains were registered that year which included bbn.com, think.com, mcc.com, dec.com and northrop.com.

It was not until 1997, at the early part of the Internet boom, before the one millionth .com was registered. However, online growth continues to rise even in challenging economic times as proven by the 100,000 .com registered each day.

While the majority of the first 100 registered .com domain names were registered by computer companies, with Apple registering on February 19, 1987, while Microsoft only registered their domain in 1991, companies from every industry realize that they need establish, build and protect their online marketing channel to be successful. There are now over 84 million registered .com domain names around the world.

According to the Symbolics website, the domain ‘.com’ evolved as more companies and corporations became connected to the internet. According to Craig Partridge, from Raytheon BBN Technologies, ‘.cor’ was first proposed as the domain for corporations, but eventually it was switched to ‘.com’. The extension ‘.com’ originated from the concept of having a domain name represent “commercial”.

Today, Internet users can register more than 700 domain extensions which include country codes (ccTLDs) for over 240 countries and territories. In the United Kingdom, Nominet which was founded in 1996 and appointed as the governing body for the .uk domain name extension. Nominet currently has around 8 Million registrations to date with an annual growth rate of 9.81%.

If you would like to register a .com, another generic domain extension or a country code domain, please contact Safenames and speak with one of our domain name consultants.

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