New gTLD Update: Fadi Chehadé Interview Provides Target Date for New gTLDs

by Robert Kriner on February 21, 2013

Last week, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé unveiled April 23, 2013 as the target date for recommending for delegation the first new gTLD string, which is 12 days after the close of ICANN’s next community meeting in Beijing, China.

Chehadé stated that progress has been made over the last couple of weeks to “align all the pieces” that will allow ICANN to meet the April 23 deadline. While Chehadé seemed confident in the date (this is the first time that a specific date for delegation recommendation has been named), he cautioned that not all of the actions necessary to meet the deadline are within ICANN’s control. It will be up to each individual applicant as to when their registry will go live, however, should this target date need to be pushed back, Chehadé said it would be “a slip of few days or weeks, not months anymore.”

During the interview Chehadé was specifically asked about the pushback ICANN has been receiving from the IP and business communities regarding brand owner and consumer protection in the new gTLDs. He responded that “ICANN has listened and will continue to listen to the concerns of our IP community and business constituencies.”

Chehadé stated that the work completed on the Strawman Proposal was “important work” and that ICANN is now analyzing the comments that have been received on the proposal from the community. Some of the proposals in the Strawman could be implemented fairly quickly in the short term, according to Chehadé, while others will have to be held back to go through the policy development process ICANN has in place. He did not offer any additional insights, but expects ICANN to release its findings regarding the Strawman shortly.

While Chehadé wants the IP and business communities to continue to voice their concerns about the new gTLD program, the program continues to move forward. Citing the current economic hard times around the world, Chehadé said, “Our sincere belief is that the introduction of the new gTLDs is good for the consumer, good for innovation, and good for competition.” The program will allow small businesses and communities to both express themselves and sell their goods.

The target date of April 23 could seem to be aspirational, especially when no date for the opening of the Trademark Clearinghouse has been set and the provider for the Uniform Rapid Suspension takedown service not yet announced. Chehadé seems committed to having the ICANN pieces together to reach the deadline, stating: “I urge everyone to appreciate that this great and most important change in the DNS that we’ve all been waiting for is now upon us, and we have clear visibility to the train taking off from the station.”

Do you believe that the April 23 deadline will be met considering the remaining number of unknowns?

Click here to register for our webinar on “gTLD Madness: The Brand Owner’s Road to the Big Show” on March 11, 2013.

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