Lives were tragically lost in Hurricane Sandy, with many additional victims sustaining acute physical injuries. Power remains out in many storm-affected areas as temperatures skew colder. Thousands of homes have been destroyed or badly damaged, and businesses have been shuttered and laid off workers, as public officials scramble to find adequate alternative shelter for the homeless and coordinate relief efforts. The rebuilding effort will take months, and in some cases years.
ICANN’s Non-Commercial Stakeholders Group (NCSG) issued a November 1st statement taking strong issue with the substance of the 8-point proposals for modifications of the required rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) for new gTLDs being advocated by ICANN’s Business and Intellectual Property Constituencies (BC/IPC), as well as with the process by which they have been advanced and may be considered.
VeriSign issued an extensive press statement today, with the probable intent of calming the markets -- given that its stock had dropped from about $46 to $36 in the last week, since its CEO advised analysts that US.. Government (USG) review of the .Com registry operations renewal agreement’s pricing provisions might delay its approval past the November 30th expiration date of the current contract. The share price did in fact recover somewhat today.
Tomorrow and Friday, November 1st and 2nd, ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade – along with some other senior ICANN staff, we believe -- will be meeting in Brussels with a variety of ICANN-affiliated parties to primarily discuss matters relating to implementation of the Trademark Clearinghouse, one of the two required rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) that must be operationally in place before any new gTLDs can launch (the other mandatory RPM being Uniform Rapid Suspension ([URS]).
ICANN’s most recently formed interest sector, the New TLD Applicants Group (NTAG), along with the longstanding Registrar’s Stakeholders Group (RrSG), have both issued statements taking strong issue with the appropriateness of considering proposals for enhanced and additional rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) at new gTLDs as well as their substance.
VeriSign’s future ability to increase pricing for .Com domains has suddenly become uncertain after the company announced on October 25th that the renewal registry operations contract that has already been approved by ICANN’s Board of Directors is undergoing extended review by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Justice.
VeriSign CEO Jim Bizdos told analysts:
Rather than being considered for implementation at the .com and .net registries through the front door of UDRP reform, Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) could arrive at these registries in advance of that reform through the backdoor of ending registry-registrar separation.
Major RPM Alterations – Including Domain Registration ‘Prior Restraint’ -- Proposed as New gTLD “Implementation” Measures
At the ICANN 45 meeting taking place in Toronto, an extensive list of proposed alterations of the rights protection measures (RPMs) for new gTLDs was presented to ICANN’s Board at a morning meeting on Tuesday, November 16th with ICANN’s Commercial Stakeholder Group. The list represents a general consensus between the Business and Intellectual Property Constituencies (BC & IPC) -- while the ISP Constituency, while supporting their goals, is still reviewing the details.
As the fall of 2012 begins the implementation of rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) for new gTLDs is reaching a critical stage –
On the eve of ICANN’s 45th public meeting in Toronto -- the last such meeting for the next half year until the April 2013 Beijing event -- the United States government has urged ICANN to consider adding new trademark protections at .com and other incumbent gTLDs, and to adopt a Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) model that includes a default judgment procedure.