to infinity and beyond icann s plan to expand the number of gtlds in the dns j scott evans n.
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To Infinity and Beyond: ICANN’s Plan to Expand the Number of gTLDs in the DNS J. Scott Evans . August 28, 2009. New gTLD Background. The Current State of Affairs. gTLDs – currently 21 Open gTLDs .com, .org, .net, .biz., .info, .tel Sponsored gTLDs .coop, .museum, .cat, .jobs, .travel

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to infinity and beyond icann s plan to expand the number of gtlds in the dns j scott evans

To Infinity and Beyond: ICANN’s Plan to Expand the Number of gTLDs in the DNSJ. Scott Evans

August 28, 2009

the current state of affairs
The Current State of Affairs
  • gTLDs – currently 21
    • Open gTLDs
      • .com, .org, .net, .biz., .info, .tel
    • Sponsored gTLDs
      • .coop, .museum, .cat, .jobs, .travel
  • ccTLDs – approximately 250
    • True country codes
      • .us, .uk, .de, .au
    • Quasi country codes
      • .tv, .md
the current state of affairs1
The Current State of Affairs
  • “Domain abuse is a business with low overheads, no barriers to entry & few risks” (IRT Report)
  • “The sale and broad expansion of new TLDs in the open market, if not properly managed, will provide abundant opportunities for cybersquatters to seize old ground in new domains”
    • Francis Gurry, WIPO: 16 March 2009
  • Registrar failure, termination and compliance problems
the current state of affairs2
The Current State of Affairs
  • Some ccTLD registries systemically abused
  • Serial infringers falsify WHOIS details, hide behind Proxy Registration services, prosper from PPC
  • Consumers confused and cheated
  • Cybersquatters playing the system
icann s plan
ICANN’s Plan
  • ICANN’s Mission: “To enhance competition and promote choice and innovation”
  • Paul Twomey, ICANN CEO, June 2006: “The DNS is constrained by 21 gTLDS”
  • New gTLD process begins with support of ICANN Board over two years ago
  • Paul Twomey, 7 May, 2009: “It is anticipated that applications for new top-level domains will be accepted starting in the 1st quarter of 2010”
icann s plan1
ICANN’s Plan
  • From 2010: 250 ccTLDs, unlimited gTLDs
  • New registries for cities, countries, regions, affinity groups, Domainers, entrepreneurs, industry associations, brands
  • .berlin, .scot, .lat, .eco, .gay, .radio, .sport, “.brand”
  • ASCII registries and IDN registries
  • Permissive application system: anyone with $185,000 can apply for “Open registry” or “Community-based registry”
  • Applicants evaluated on financial, technical & operational grounds and for String Confusion
  • Rolling application process with no upper limit
the irt
The IRT

ICANN Board requests Intellectual Property Constituency to form Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) March 2009.

“Comprised of an internationally diverse group of persons with knowledge, expertise and experience in the fields of trademark, consumer protection, or competition law, and the interplay of trademarks and the domain name system todevelop and propose solutions to the overarching issue of trademark protection in connection with the introduction of new gTLDs.”

the irt1
Mette Andersen, Lego, DK

Jonathan Cohen, Shapiro Cohen, CA

J. Scott Evans, Yahoo! Inc., US

Zahid Jamil, Jamil & Jamil, PK

Caroline Chicoine, Fredrikson & Byron, US (Chair)

Stacey King, Richemont, UK

Hector Manoff, Vitale, Manoff & Feilbogen, AR

Russell Pangborn, Microsoft Corp., US

Mark Partridge, Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP, US

Kristina Rosette, Covington & Burling LLP, US

Ellen Shankman, Ellen B. Shankman & Associates, IL

David Taylor, Lovells LLP, FR

Kiyoshi Tsuru, Morales & Tsuru Abogados, S.C., MX

Fabricio Vayra, Time Warner Inc., US

Mary Wong, Franklin Pierce Law Center, SG

Nick Wood, Com Laude, UK

Jeff Neuman, Neustar, Inc., US (Registry representative)

Jon Nevett, Network Solutions LLC, US (Registrar Representative)

The IRT

Plus 6 Ex Officio:

4 from IPC including President Steve Metalitz & INTA’s Claudio DiGangi

all supported by ICANN staff

problem one
Problem One
  • Cost and administrative burden to rights owners of reacting to Sunrise & other RPMs
  • Example:
      • 500 new registries could require owner to have same trademark data validated 500 times
      • Registrars could be required to develop 500 different processes
solution one ip clearinghouse
Solution One: IP Clearinghouse
  • What is it?
    • A single database that serves as the sole repository for validated information concerning third party rights
  • What is it used for?
    • Information on Globally Protected Marks List
    • Providing information to Registries/Registrars during pre-launch period for RPMs
    • For use in filing action under Uniform Rapid Suspension System
solution one ip clearinghouse1
Solution One: IP Clearinghouse
  • What are the principal features?
    • Data submitted by TM owners. Validated initially & annually
    • Data licensed to ICANN with right to sublicense for sole purpose of RPMs and URS
    • Database run by outsourced entity not currently under contract with ICANN
    • Available 24/7, 365 days a year
    • Must be scalable (accommodate variety of rights)
    • Must be able to provide data in standard format
    • Cost must be reasonable
solution one globally protected marks list
Solution One: Globally Protected Marks List
  • What is it?
    • Not famous marks list, but list of mark meeting objective criteria entitled to enhanced protections
  • Who would be eligible?
    • Marks with a specific number of registrations of national effect for the applied-for GPM that have issued in a minimum number of countries across all 5 ICANN regions with minimum number of registrations in each region
    • All registrations must have issued by the date that GPML applications are first accepted and must be based on trademark applications filed by November 1, 2008.
    • Second-level domain for mark’s principal on-line presence must be identical to GPM.
solution one globally protected marks list1
Solution One: Globally Protected Marks List
  • What are the enhanced protections at the top level?
    • Applied-for strings for new gTLDs analyzed for confusing similarity against GPMs
    • Identical matches or confusingly similar to GPM should fail Initial Evaluation and do not proceed unless and until applicant participates in Initial Evaluation Reconsideration process and decision rendered in its favor.
      • Request for Reconsideration: applicant must demonstrate either that applied-for TLD string is not sufficiently similar as to be likely, as a matter of probability and not mere possibility, to deceive or cause confusion or that it otherwise has legitimate rights to use the applied-for TLD and will be contractually bound by all representations.
solution one globally protected marks list2
Solution One: Globally Protected Marks List
  • What is the enhanced protection on the second level?
    • Initial blocking of domain names that are an identical match to a GPM
    • Applicant can register name if participate in dispute resolution process and demonstrate that its use of the applied-for domain name would not violate the trademark rights of the GPM owner
      • recommend application of standard from Paragraph 4(c) of UDRP to demonstrate has right or legitimate interest
solution one minimum rpms for pre launch
Solution One: Minimum RPMs for pre-launch
  • IP Claims Service for non-GPM in IP Clearinghouse
    • Registry provides notices to:
      • Potential registrants of domain names that are identical matches to marks contained in IP Clearinghouse
      • Owners of marks contained in IP Clearinghouse that are identical matches to applied-for domain names
    • Registrant can opt to proceed with registration after receiving notice if it makes certain representations and warranties and acknowledgements
  • Standardized Sunrise Eligibility Requirements
    • Standard set of minimum eligibility requirements
    • Standard Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy
problem two
Problem Two
  • Cybersquatting continues, consumers misled, UDRP & Courts take time and money
  • Examples:
    • cnnporn.com
    • facebook.ie (competitor)
    • pokemonl.com (pornography)
    • prada-baby.net (Child pornography)
solution two uniform rapid suspension system
Solution Two: Uniform Rapid Suspension System
  • Overall purpose/process –address the substantial number of current UDRP cases that go unanswered
  • Neutral URS provider(s) appointed by ICANN
  • Possible pre-registration of rights via IP Clearinghouse
  • Upon initiation of process, domain name frozen to prohibit transfers (note –website still resolves)
  • Examiners use a much higher burden of proof than the UDRP (“clear and convincing evidence that there is no contestable issue”)
  • Upon decision by Examiner in favor of complainant, domain name “frozen” at the registry, the DNS record associated with the domain name is updated to re-direct web traffic to a website with a standard URS process page; domain names are NEVER transferred under a URS decision.
solution two uniform rapid suspension system1
Solution Two: Uniform Rapid Suspension System
  • Protections against misuses by complainant
    • URS can only result in takedown NOT transfer (no risk of reverse hijacking)
    • Notification required by email AND certified letter (fax being examined)
    • All complaints are reviewed by an examiner –even if the registrant does not answer
    • Complainants must agree to indemnify third parties based on the representations in the complaints
    • Complainants subject to one-year ban from system for filing three abusive complaints
    • Process includes rights of appeal, which requires unlocking of domain name pending disposition of appeal
problem three
Problem Three
  • Preventing Bad Actor Registry Operators
    • What to do with Registry operator who acts inconsistently with representations or has bad faith intent to profit from systemic cybersquatting.
      • Example: .apple, new gTLD for apple growers, begins to allow registrations for domain in breach of “charter”:
        • computers.apple
        • software.apple
        • mac.apple
solution three post delegation dispute mechanism
Solution Three: Post-Delegation Dispute Mechanism
  • How does it work?
    • 3rd party submits a claim to ICANN
    • If breach, various enforcement mechanisms include monetary sanctions, suspension or termination of contract
    • If unresolved by ICANN, third party can initiate Post Delegation Dispute
    • Arbitration-like procedure before a neutral third party
solution three post delegation dispute mechanism1
Solution Three: Post-Delegation Dispute Mechanism
  • Applicable Disputes
    • Manner of operation or use of a TLD is inconsistent with the representations in TLD app and such operation or use of the TLD is likely to cause confusion with the complainant’s mark; or
    • Breach of rights protection mechanisms in its Agreement and such breach is likely to cause confusion with complainant’s mark; or
    • Manner of operation or use of the TLD exhibits a bad faith intent to profit from the systemic registration of domain name registrations therein, which are identical or confusingly similar to the complainant's mark, that: (a) take unfair advantage reputation of the complainant's mark, or (b) impair reputation of complainant's mark, or (c) create impermissible likelihood of confusion with complainant's mark.
solution three post delegation dispute mechanism2
Solution Three: Post-Delegation Dispute Mechanism
  • Decisions
    • Panel can find for complainant or registry operator and provide a remedy
    • Balance: Concept of a complaint deemed as being “without merit” (i.e. an abuse of procedure to harass the registry operator)
    • Complainant barred from further filings if found w/o merit on 3 occasions
  • Enforcement Tools
    • Panel recommends to ICANN: Monetary Sanctions and Suspension pending cure
    • Group Liability: for serial misconduct by registries when affiliated with other registries and registrars
  • Fees (model proposed for high amounts)
    • Balance: Penalty fee: Key here is meaningful amount to deter abusive claims, refunded to complainant if successful
problem four
Problem Four
  • No single source availability of data
  • Example:
    • .com
    • Some "bad actor" registrars do not keep up to date records
solution four thick whois for all new gtlds
Solution Four: Thick Whois for all New gTLDs
  • Thick WHOIS
    • WHOIS data kept a registry level
  • Example
    • .biz
    • (with a suggestion that ICANN revitalizes an initiative for a centralized Whois)
problem five
Problem Five
  • ICANN algorithm for top level string comparison
    • Considers visual appearance only
  • Example:
    • .tel could block .hotel
solution five
Solution Five
  • Algorithm + aural and commercial impression
    • Use algorithm to identify strings for which similarity in sound and meaning should be considered
      • Makes process more fair with more terms passing