ICANN staff have requested a six-month delay in the delivery date of a Preliminary Issue Report on the “current state of all rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) implemented for both existing and new gTLDs, including but not limited to the UDRP and the URS”. The request is contained in a January 5, 2015 e-mail sent by ICANN Senior Policy Director Mary Wong to members of the GNSO Council. A December 2011 Council Resolution had requested that the staff-developed Report be “delivered to the GNSO Council by no later than eighteen (18) months following the delegation of the first new gTLD”. The e-mail requests that the delivery date be pushed back from March to October of 2015.
Reasons cited for the delay request include:
While we cannot predict the Council’s action on this request, we would not be surprised if it were granted. Many Council members, staff, and other members of the ICANN community are already engaged to the point of near-exhaustion on the transition and accountability project, and the request e-mail makes clear that an Issues Report delivered in March would be hurried and lack the benefit of considering two relevant processes that are nearing completion and directly related to the subject of RPM review.
Assuming that the Council grants the request, if the Issues Report delivered in October becomes the basis for a either consideration of a tweaking of RPMs for the next round of gTLDs, and/or a Policy Development Process (PDP) on UDRP reform, such processes could not commence until late this year or the first part of 2016. A PDP on UDRP reform would have to consider complex issues and address potentially controversial proposals, and we would expect that it would take a year or longer before completing its work and delivering a report and recommendations for community and Board consideration.
ICA has long favored comprehensive UDRP review and reform. We are disappointed that this will likely be put off once again by half a year. However, it may be best to defer it until more fully developed information on the performance of the RPMs developed for the new gTLD program becomes available, and the bulk of work on the IANA transition and ICANN accountability has been completed.
The text of the staff e-mail follows—
Staff would like to request that the GNSO Council consider extending the timeline for the preparation and delivery of the Preliminary Issue Report that had been requested by the Council in December 2011, on the “current state of all rights protection mechanisms (RPMs) implemented for both existing and new gTLDs, including but not limited to the UDRP and the URS, to be “delivered to the GNSO Council by no later than eighteen (18) months following the delegation of the first new gTLD” (see http://gnso.icann.org/en/council/resolutions#201112 for the relevant GNSO Council resolution). This request meant that the Preliminary Issue Report will be due in or around March 2015, given that the first new gTLD delegated under the new gTLD Program occurred in October 2013.
Since the Council’s passage of the above-mentioned resolution, which was prior to the delegation date of the first new gTLD, several developments have occurred that in the view of staff merits the Council’s considering postponing the delivery date of the Preliminary Issue Report for another six (6) months, i.e. extending the deadline to October 2015. We now know, for example, that one year after the delegation of the first new gTLD, over 400 new gTLDs have been delegated and about 150 URS complaints filed, with 1 appeal so far. A draft Work Plan was also published in September 2014, detailing the scope and nature of the various assessments that are being and will be done prior to the launch of the next round, including those concerning RPMs (see http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/reviews-assessments-draft-work-plan-22sep14-en.pdf for the full document).
As outlined in the Work Plan, the proposed data gathering and analysis of the RPMs implemented for the new gTLD program will include the following (see page 13 of the Work Plan):
Policy staff has been consulting and coordinating with our GDD colleagues on the timing of each of these assessments, since they are expressly intended to also identify potential issues for policy development work, including providing information for the Preliminary Issue Report noted above. We are informed that a draft paper on RPM implementation is expected to be published shortly for community discussion, including at the upcoming ICANN Public Meeting in Singapore.
In addition, as also noted in the Work Plan, the GAC’s May 2011 advice to the ICANN Board in respect of a review of the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) is currently being scoped, and we are informed that the intention is to complete the review by mid-2015 (see https://archive.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/gac-comments-new-gtlds-26may11-en.pdf for the GAC’s request).
In light of the above-mentioned developments, and in view of the ongoing work of the community (including the GNSO community) on a number of policy issues as well as on the broader issues of the IANA stewardship transition and ICANN accountability, staff therefore believes that extending the timeline for the requested Preliminary Issue Report by six (6) months will allow that Report to take on board the results of the various assessment exercises as well as consider a further number of URS filings and results. The hope is that this will provide the GNSO Council and community with more concrete data and specific information that will assist in your consideration of next steps in relation to RPM review for both existing and new gTLDs.
We will be happy to provide further information should you or your groups have any questions. The Council may also wish to discuss this on its next call, if desired. In any case, please let us know whether you have any concerns or objections to this request.
Thanks and cheers – and best wishes to you and yours for a very happy 2015!
Senior Policy Director
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN)
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