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Comment from United TLD Holdco. Ltd.

  • To: "'tmch-strawman@xxxxxxxxx'" <tmch-strawman@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Comment from United TLD Holdco. Ltd.
  • From: Statton Hammock <Statton@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 14:26:36 -0800

United TLD Holdco, Ltd.  ("United TLD") wishes to submit this comment in 
response to ICANN's request for comments on the "Strawman Solution" related to 
rights protection mechanisms in the new gTLD program.
While United TLD commends ICANN for convening a series of meetings two months 
ago with stakeholder representatives to work on new registry-related 
implementation issues, we are disappointed that ICANN allowed these discussions 
to go beyond matters of implementation and manifest in the form of the 
"Strawman Solution" which contains aspects that are clearly new policy 
proposals and not merely recommendations on how to implement current policy.  
We will address each element of the Strawman Solution in turn and provide 
specific comments and concerns of which we hope ICANN will take careful note.
First, with respect to registries providing a 30-day notice period in advance 
of the Sunrise Period, United TLD believes that, while this constitutes a 
change to the requirements in the Applicant Guidebook (AGB), this notice period 
is relatively easy to implement and will not create an undue burden on new 
registries and therefore United TLD has no objection to this aspect of the 
proposed solution.
Second, the proposal to extend the minimum Trademark Claims Period from 60 days 
to 90 days also constitutes a change in the AGB but, unlike the proposal above, 
this proposal could adversely impact registries by requiring substantial system 
changes and changes in the registry-registrar integration planning which could 
delay launch of new gTLDs.  Consequently, United TLD does not support the 
Third, the proposed requirement for a second Trademark Claims Period to follow 
the initial 60-day period (the "Claims 2" period) is a new requirement that 
should not be instituted without first being subject to the consensus policy 
making process.  This element is a new, post-launch process and therefore must 
be sent to the GNSO for policy consideration and development.
Fourth, the expansion of the Trademark Claims notice to include "non-exact" 
trademark matches is a proposal that extends well beyond the requirements in 
the AGB and is one that was previously rejected by the Special Trademark Issues 
Review Team assembled by the GNSO to develop the original rights protection 
mechanisms now incorporated into the AGB.  Resurrecting this already rejected 
proposal and adding it to the "Strawman Solution" at this time is absolutely 
contrary to the letter, intent, and spirit, of the ICANN policy making process. 
This proposal also effectively grants trademark owners protections above and 
beyond those protections afforded them under many federal and international 
trademark laws. For these reasons, United TLD strongly opposes the inclusion of 
this element into the "Strawman Solution."
Finally, United TLD also opposes the proposal to allow trademark owners the 
option to "block" trademarks across all TLDs for a fee.  This element should be 
rejected as currently proposed as we believe it would be commercially 
impractical as some trademarks should not be blocked from certain gTLDs (for 
example, "McDonalds" may appropriately be blocked from the .FOOD extension but 
not from the .FAMILY extension).  United TLD can support a "block" feature such 
as the one envisioned by United TLD in its new gTLD applications[1] but not one 
that is automatic and "across the board" and does not give some discretion to 
the registry operator to disallow a block for certain strings.
As recently suggested by the NTIA, additional rights protection mechanisms 
should be evaluated under the normal ICANN policy development process that 
would apply to all gTLDs, both new and existing.  United TLD supports ICANN's 
well-established existing policy development processes and urges ICANN to put 
the "Strawman" elements through these processes so that they are developed and 
implemented fairly.
Statton Hammock
Vice-President, Business & Legal Affairs
Registry Operations
United TLD Holdco Ltd.


[1] The Domain Protected Marks List (DPML) service will be offered to trademark 
owners and permit a block across all United TLD gTLDs for a fixed term of up to 
ten years, but United TLD will retain discretion to disallow a block for 
certain TLDs such as those where there is more than one exact match of the term 
in the Trademark Clearinghouse or if the term is considered a "premium name.".

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