The agenda was packed for last week’s ICANN meeting held in Prague that I attended, with many of the sessions focusing on the new gTLD program and brand owner rights.
The meetings began on June 23, the same day ICANN released an announcement that the Digital Archery System was going to be indefinitely suspend. Digital Archery was supposed to be the form with which new gTLD applicants would be placed into “batches” based on how close they came to shooting a “digital arrow” at a specified time. A replacement for this program was among the topics discussed in Prague, but no official replacement has been named.
Among the other topics related to brand owners and the new gTLDs were the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMC) and Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS).
Representatives from IBM and Deloitte were on hand to discuss the TMC and outline their plans for creating the actual clearinghouse database. Despite some initial delays, they are confident that the system will be opened to begin accepting trademarks in October. There appear to be some issues with the cost to brand owners who wish to register their marks with the TMC and around the new gTLD registries having to access the data. For now, a brand owner will have to pay $150 for each mark they would like entered into the clearinghouse and new gTLD registries will have to pay between $7,000–$10,000 for accessing the data, even if their registry is closed and not open for public registration.
Representatives from WIPO and the National Arbitration Forum (NAF) voiced their concerns over the ability to offer a rapid takedown service for new gTLDs within the specified price range of $300–$500 per case. The URS was created to be a fast, inexpensive option for brand owners to take down domains that are clearly infringing on their rights. Availability and use of the URS is a prerequisite to any new gTLD registries going live.
We’ll keep you updated on future developments regarding application batching and the URS.