Tuesday, 26 March 2013

First Evaluation Results Published – the launch of new gTLDs is getting closer

On March 22nd, ICANN published the results of the evaluation of the first 27 new gTLD Applications.

We are proud to announce that one of Thomsen Trampedach’s (we are supporting 24 applications) clients passed with a score of 39 out of a possible 41 points (30 points required to pass).

According to ICANN’s current timeplan the first 20 new gTLDs may launch as soon as July this year.

The first one hundred new gTLDs will be TLDs using other scripts than Latin (so called “IDNs”).

Still, new gTLD applicants who have passed the Initial Evaluation will have to pass a delegation test (of the registry system), enter contracts with ICANN, be approved by the ICANN board and avoid any Government veto or other objections, such as legal right objections.

It appears that our client has the chance of launching the first new gTLD (at least the first new gTLD in Germany), which we are very much looking forward to supporting.

Trademark Clearing House (TMCH) opens today

In order to reduce the burden of right holders to provide trademark certificates to each of the new gTLD registry, where one wants to register a domain name, ICANN has chosen IBM/Deloitte as the provider of central Trademark Clearing House.

For a fee of USD 150 per mark per year right holders can file their Trademarks (and other IPR) in the central TMCH. Once a mark is validated and accepted in the TMCH, the right holder can participate in all sunrise (pre-registration) phases for under each new gTLD (provided the registrant is eligible in each new gTLD (i.e. some new GEO TLDs will require a local presence, and other community based TLDs will require membership).

In addition right holders whose marks are filed in the TMCH will be notified within the first 90 days of the launch of a new gTLD, in case a third party has registered an identical match of their mark in the TMCH. The registrant will also be notified prior to the completion of the domain name registration that there is a registered mark for the string, they wish to register as a domain name.

Should a third party still wish to register the domain, a right holder can dispute such registrations by using the new Uniform Rapid Suspension System (the less expensive and faster equivalent of the UDRP). When filing such URS disputes, right holders may refer to their filing number in the TMCH, which will make it convenient to file a dispute (max 5,000 words, and online dispute form, costs of appr. USD 500). 

ICANN Meeting in Beijing

In about ten days ICANN is hosting the next annual meeting in Beijing. We expect an intense week with interesting discussions on the remaining open issues in the new gTLD program, such as the actual implementation of the principles behind the trademark protection mechanisms (TMCH, IP Claims services), as well as the finalizing of the contract (gTLD agreement) between the gTLD applicants and ICANN.

And as always the internal fights amongst applicants who have applied for identical strings will be “fun” to hear about.

We also look forward to discussing the new gTLD program with Chinese brands and CNNIC to hear about their expectations for the new gTLDs.

Last, but not least, it will be very exciting to follow any possible outcome of the GAC (Governmental Advisory Committee) discussions on potential veto (GAC advice) against individual applications.

ICANN seems determined to stick to the (latest) timeline and we are thrilled to see that (hopefully) the gTLD program will enter the delegation and launch phase after a long and sometimes frustrating zig zag hurdle race through the application and evaluation phases.

Zai Jian and see you in Beijing.