LOS ANGELES – 26 October 2020 – The Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) is seeking expressions of interest for a chair of the Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) Work Track, a subteam within an ongoing Policy Development Process (PDP) to review all trademark-related rights protection mechanisms at the second level of the domain name system. The GNSO Council intends to appoint a single, neutral chair to the IGO Work Track. The deadline to submit Expressions of Interest is 30 November 2020 at 23:59 UTC.
Candidates interested in serving in this role should review the Expressions of Interest document before submission. The document includes the following information:
- Description of the role
- Required or highly preferred skills
- Required or highly preferred experience
- Time commitment
- Selection process and criteria
Background on the Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) Work Track
IGOs may face certain challenges when using existing second-level domain name dispute resolution processes to protect their acronyms from misuse (i.e. curative rights). After much consideration, a GNSO International Governmental Organization (IGO) – International Non-governmental Organization (INGO) PDP Working Group has recommended that, in the admittedly rare case where the below conditions are met, the original Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) or Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) panel decision is to be set aside:
- An IGO has prevailed in a UDRP or URS proceeding.
- The losing registrant files suit in a court of competent jurisdiction.
- The IGO successfully claims immunity from the jurisdiction of that court.
Assuming an IGO is able to avail itself of the UDRP process, the effect of this recommendation is that the parties to the dispute will be placed in the original situation as if the UDRP or URS proceeding had never been commenced.
During the GNSO Council's deliberations over the final PDP recommendations, concerns were expressed as to whether this particular recommendation will:
- Require a substantive modification to the UDRP and URS (notwithstanding that these two dispute resolution procedures are currently under consideration in the Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms PDP).
- Result in a potential reduction of the existing level of curative protections currently available to IGOs (notwithstanding the fact that the Access to Curative Rights PDP had been chartered to determine "whether to amend the UDRP and URS to allow access to and use of these mechanisms by IGOs and INGOs …or whether a separate, narrowly-tailored dispute resolution procedure at the second level modeled on the UDRP and URS that takes into account the particular needs and specific circumstances of IGOs and INGOs should be developed").
Consequently, the GNSO Council did not approve this particular recommendation and tasked the IGO Work Track to develop an appropriate policy solution. This solution should be consistent with the other recommendations in the PDP Final Report and:
- Account for the possibility that an IGO may enjoy jurisdictional immunity in certain circumstances.
- Leave intact the right and ability of registrants to file judicial proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction whether following a UDRP/URS case or otherwise.
- Recognize that the existence and scope of IGO jurisdictional immunity in any particular situation is a legal issue to be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction (see https://gnso.icann.org/en/council/resolutions#20190418-03).
- Addendum to the Review of All RPMs in All gTLDs PDP Charter creating the new IGO Work Track – https://gnso.icann.org/sites/default/files/file/field-file-attach/rpms-charter-addendum-09jan20-en.pdf
- Project page for the IGO-INGO Access to Curative Rights Protection Mechanisms PDP – https://gnso.icann.org/en/group-activities/active/igo-ingo-crp-access
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