National Arbitration Forum Selected as First Uniform Rapid Suspension Program Provider
The process of selecting a provider to run the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) program has ended with ICANN’s decision to choose the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). The NAF is already a major UDRP provider and will now be tasked with implementing and managing this new rights protection mechanism within the new gTLDs.
The URS program was created through work done by the Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT), which was formed by the ICANN board in 2009. This group of 18 intellectual property professionals was tasked with exporting and developing specific rights protection mechanisms that could be used by brand owners during the launch of new gTLDs. The IRT created the URS program as a way for trademark owners to quickly take down clear-cut cases of trademark infringement within the new gTLD space. The IRT also considered the issue of cost, with a recommendation that the URS program not exceed $300-$500 per submission.
After not finding a suitable vendor to run the URS program, ICANN decided to open the process up and issued an RFI for prospective URS providers in September of last year. Among other things, the RFI required the prospective provider to show “demonstrated understanding of the issues concerning global intellectual property rights and the Internet, proceedings in an expedited online context, dispute resolutions, UDRP proceedings, and serving as globally diverse and highly qualified neutral panelist.”
NAF received over 2,000 UDRP complaints in 2011 and is the second most used UDRP provider following WIPO. Many of the specific details regarding how the URS will function are still outstanding, but one clear differentiation between the URS and UDRP, aside from the cost and the expected time for receiving a decision, is that a successful URS win will not lead to the transfer of the disputed domain name. This differs from the UDRP where the successful party can have the domain transferred to its ownership. For now, the URS will only apply to the new gTLDs that are expected to launch this year.
19 New gTLD Applications Withdrawn, Contention Sets Released
Nineteen new gTLD applications have been withdrawn, as of today’s date. The 19 applications include six that took part in ICANN’s prioritization draw back in December. Applicants did not have to provide any reasons for withdrawing their applications, but of the six that took part in the prioritization draw, five drew numbers above 1780, meaning they would have to wait quite a while to launch their registries.
ICANN also released the results of its string similarity review, officially releasing those applications that are considered to be “in contention.” The original date for the completion of the similarity review was scheduled to be in October 2012, but many delays pushed the release date until now. Of all the applications that were received, only four were considered to be non-exact match sets (.hotels and .hoteis; unicorn and .unicom). This means that the system ICANN utilized to review the similarity of strings found applications like .hotel and .hotels and .accountant and .accountants different enough to be kept out of contention.
Trademark Clearinghouse to Open on March 26
ICANN has finally announced the date for the opening of the Trademark Clearinghouse, five months later that was originally expected. While the Clearinghouse may be opening relatively soon, brand owners will have some time to submit their trademarks for inclusion before the first new gTLD goes live.
Do you believe that the progress ICANN has made will lead to the new gTLDs launching on time?
Corsearch’s Corporate Domain Management Team can assist brand owners with domain registration, searching, monitoring, and management needs. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to register for our webinar on “gTLD Madness: The Brand Owner’s Road to the Big Show” on March 11, 2013.