Lots of New Domain Name extensions (TLDs) coming

The domain name system (DNS) today includes over 300 TLDs (Top Level Domains):

  • 249 ccTLDs – Country-code Top Level Domains such as .uk (United Kingdom) .de (Germany) .fr (France)
  • 30 IDN ccTLDs – Internationalized Domain Names such as .امارات (United Arab Emirates)
  • 21 gTLDs – Generic Top Level Domains such as .com, .net, .xxx

From 2013 the number of TLDs is expected to be 1000+

From 12th January 2012 ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, www.icann.org) started accepting applications for new Domain Name extensions. They reported on the 13th February 2012 that they already have 100 successful registrants. http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/statistics

On the 1st of May, ICANN will publish the list of applications they have received for a new gTLD. Only then will we see exactly what has been applied, by whom and what is their ‘mission or purpose’. This is when it will get exciting 🙂

After the list of all TLD applications has been published on ICANN’s website, there will be a period of time for third-parties to file a formal objection using pre-established dispute resolution procedures. Objections will be administered by independent Dispute Resolution Service Providers (DRSP), rather than by ICANN. The objection period is your time to object and potentially stop an applied-for gTLD from being approved.

You should pay close attention to what gTLDs are being applied for in case you have a valid reason to object, such as protecting your rights or other legitimate interests.

What can I do if someone applies for a string that represents my brand or trademark?
You can file an objection with the DRSP selected to administer “legal rights” objections. Details about these procedures, such as who has standing, where and how objections are filed, and how much objections will cost can be found in Module 3 of the Applicant Guidebook and the related New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure.

Grounds for filing an objection
Formal objections using pre-established Dispute Resolution Procedures may be filed on any of the following grounds:
• String Confusion Objection – The applied-for gTLD character string is so similar to an existing TLD or to another applied-for gTLD string that user confusion would likely result if both TLDs were delegated.
• Legal Rights Objection – The applied-for gTLD string infringes the existing legal rights of the objector.
• Limited Public Interest Objection – The applied-for gTLD string is contrary to generally accepted legal norms of morality and public order that are recognized under principles of international law.
• Community Objection – There is substantial opposition to the gTLD application from a significant portion of the community to which the gTLD string is targeted.

Who can file an objection to a gTLD application?
• For String Confusion Objections, the objector must be an existing TLD operator or a gTLD applicant in the current/ same application round.
• For Legal Rights Objections, the objector must be a rights holder whose rights are being infringed.
• For Limited Public Interest Objections, anyone can file an objection; however the objection is subject to a “quick look” review designed to filter out frivolous and/or abusive objections.
• For Community Objections, the objector must be an established institution associated with a clearly defined community.

The Objection Filing Period is expected to open in May 2012. According to the timeline established for the New gTLD Program, ICANN expects to post public portions of all applications that have been received, on its website in early May 2012. At this time, the formal objection period will begin and an applicant with ‘standing’ will have approximately seven months to file an objection. After the objection filing period closes, those objections received will move through the dispute resolution process.

Dispute Resolution Providers
Dispute resolution proceedings will be administered by independent Dispute Resolution Service Providers, not by ICANN.
• For String Confusion Objections: The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (http://www.adr.org/icdr ).
• For Legal Rights Objections: The Arbitration and Mediation Center of the World Intellectual Property Organization (http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/index.html).
• For Limited Public Interest and Community Objections: The International Center of Expertise of the International Chamber of Commerce (http://www.iccwbo.org/court/expertise/id4595/index.html).

For more detailed information on the new gTLD Objection and Dispute Resolution Procedures refer to Module 3 of the Applicant Guidebook.
As always, rely on the Applicant Guidebook as the authoritative source of requirements (http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/agb) or if you need something to read to send you to sleep at night 🙂

So, please don’t ring me yet to try and register a .shop .wine .paris or .london domain name, i fully expect these examples to have been applied for in the new gTLD program, but whether they will pass the application procedure, what the rules will be for registration… ask me in 2013, i’ll know more then…. x

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