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Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Registry Agreements

gTLD Registry Agreements establish the rights, duties, liabilities, and obligations ICANN requires of registry operators to run gTLDs.

Unsponsored TLD Agreement: Appendix J (.pro)

ICANN | Unsponsored TLD Agreement: Appendix J (.pro)
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Unsponsored TLD Agreement: Appendix J (.pro)

21 May 2004


Start-Up Plan

1. Introduction

This document describes the start-up plan for the .pro top-level domain (TLD). The .pro TLD will contain domain names and Defensive Registrations ("Registered Items") for registrants that meet the qualifications set forth in Appendix L. The Registered Items will appear as second-level domain names, redirection of second-level domains to corresponding third level domains, or third-level domains within second-level domains (such as .med.pro) devoted to particular professions.

The professions-specific second-level domains (PS-SLDs) will be introduced in phases whereas the registration under the second-level and the redirects of second-level domains to corresponding third level domains will be available immediately at the Registry Live Start Date.

This start-up plan includes a set of initial procedures required for start-up of the first phase of PS-SLD introductions as well as procedures for the start-up of additional PS-SLD introductions in the later phases.

1.1 Procedures for Introduction of First-Phase PS-SLDs. The following procedures will be used for the first-phase PS-SLDs:

  • Prior to beginning any of the registration periods, the Registry Operator will implement the initial Testing Period (as defined in Section 2 of this Appendix J).
  • Prior to Registry Live Start Date (as defined below), the Registry Operator will implement a registration period during which registered trademark owners may register their marks as Defensive Registrations in the first-phase PS-SLDs in order to allow them to protect their intellectual property ("Sunrise Period"). (See Section 3 of this Appendix J.)
  • Following the Sunrise Period, the Registry Operator will run a standard first-come, first-served registration process for Registered Items within the first-phase PS-SLDs, that is open to all qualified registrants in those PS-SLDs ("Registry Live Period"). (See Section 4 of this Appendix J.)
  • After the Registry Live Start Date, domain name registrations will resolve in near real time, following completion of verification and digital-certificate processes (set forth in Appendices L and M). No Defensive Registrations registered during the Sunrise Period or after the Registry Live Start Date will resolve, provided however, that a Defensive Registrant may provide itself consent to convert a Defensive Registration into a resolving domain name (as described in Section 5.6 of Appendix L).
  • Other than the registration of a Defensive Registration, there is no mechanism to directly register a domain name during the Sunrise Period. However, a Sunrise registrant may convert a Defensive Registration into a resolving domain name on or after the Registry Live Date in the event that the Registrar successfully verify the proof of eligibility information referenced above, such registration will remain a Defensive Registration. Each of the first-phase PS-SLDs may be launched separately and on different time tracks. The processes described in this Appendix J should be read as the timeline and process for each PS-SLD.

1.2 Procedures for Introduction of Subsequent-Phase PS-SLDs. The following procedures will be used for PS-SLDs introduced after the first-phase PS-SLDs:

  • The Registry Operator will submit to ICANN a start-up documentation package describing the arrangements for the start-up and operation of the PS-SLD(s), as described in Section 4 of Appendix L. This package must be approved by ICANN according to the procedures of Appendix L.
  • Prior to beginning any of the registration periods for the PS-SLD, the Registry Operator will implement a registrar notification and, if necessary, qualification period (as described in Section 2 of this Appendix J).
  • Prior to Registry Live Start Date (as defined below), the Registry Operator will implement a registration period during which registered trademark owners may register their marks as Defensive Registrations in the PS-SLDs in order to allow them to protect their intellectual property ("Sunrise Period"). (See Section 3 of this Appendix J.)
  • Following the Sunrise Period for the PS-SLD, the Registry Operator will run a standard first-come, first-served registration process for Registered Items within the PS-SLDs, that is open to all qualified registrants in those PS-SLDs ("Registry Live Period"). (See Section 4 of this Appendix J.)
  • Other than the registration for a Defensive Registration, there is no mechanism to directly register a domain name during the Sunrise Period. However, a sunrise registrant may convert a Defensive Registration into a resolving name on or after the Registry Live Date in the event that the Registrar successfully verifies the proof of eligibility information (se defined in Appendix L) provided by the registrant for such domain name. In the event the Registrar does not successfully verify the proof of eligibility information referenced above, such registration will remain a Defensive Registration.
  • After the Registry Live Start Date, domain name registrations will resolve in near real time, following completion of verification and certification processes (set forth in Appendices L and M). No Defensive Registrations registered during the Sunrise Period or after the Registry Live Date will resolve, provided however, that a Defensive Registrant may provide itself consent to convert a Defensive Registration into a resolving domain name (as described in Section 5.6 of Appendix L).

1.3 Summary of Start-Up Procedures and Schedules.

Procedures for Introduction of First-Phase PS-SLDs

Registration Period

Timing

Process

Testing Period Beginning on Effective Date and continuing through LL Training, Education, OT&E
Public announcement of OT&E Certification Period At least 15 days before beginning of OT&E Certification Period -
OT&E Certification Period Beginning at least 30 days before the beginning of the Sunrise Period -
Notice of Sunrise Period 15 days prior to Sunrise Start Date -
Sunrise Period Sunrise Start Date plus at least 15 days. Sunrise Period may be extended in Registry Operator resonable discretion. Batch registrations.
Sunrise Evaluation Period End of Sunrise Period plus, at a maximum, 30 days -
Notice of Registry Live Period 15 - 30 days prior to LL. -
Registry Live Period (Commencement-of-Service Date) Live Launch (LL)

First come, first served registration.

DNS resolution of eligible names.

Whois service available.

Procedures for Introduction of Subsequent-Phase PS-SLDs

Registration Period

Timing

Process

Notification To be specified in start-up documentation package approved by ICANN To be specified in start-up documentation package approved by ICANN
Sunrise Period To be specified in start-up documentation package approved by ICANN Batch registration process or first come, first served
Sunrise Evaluation Period To be specified in start-up documentation package approved by ICANN To be specified in start-up documentation package approved by ICANN
Notice of Registry Live Period To be specified in start-up documentation package approved by ICANN To be specified in start-up documentation package approved by ICANN
Registry Live Period Live Launch (LL)

First come, first served registration.

DNS resolution of eligible names.

Whois service available.

Where the dates for the notification and challenge timelines fall on a significant public holiday in a particular jurisdiction, the Registry Operator may extend such timeline until after the public holiday.

2. Testing and Registrar Notification Periods

2.1 First-Phase PS-SLDs.

The Registry Operator will conduct a testing and education period ("Testing Period") for Authorized Registrars. (As used in this Appendix J, the term "Authorized Registrar" refers to a registrar accredited by ICANN for the .pro TLD that has entered into, and has currently in effect, the Registry-Registrar Agreement (Appendix F).)

The Testing Period will be conducted in a manner consistent with Subsection 3.5 of the Registry Agreement and will commence on the Effective Date. It will include a minimum 30-day period for Authorized Registrars to submit to OT&E certification before the beginning of the Sunrise Period. Registry Operator will publicly announce, and give ICANN written notice of, the beginning of the OT&E certification period at least 15 days before its beginning.

The Registry Operator may implement, in a manner consistent with Subsection 3.5 of the Registry Agreement, a Testing Period for any Authorized Registrar at any time during the processes set forth in this Appendix J before allowing that registrar to sponsor Registered Items within the PS-SLD.

2.2 Subsequent-Phase SLDs.

Upon ICANN approval, according to the procedures described in Section 4 of Appendix L, of the start-up documentation package (including start-up schedule) for a PS-SLD, the Registry Operator will give all Authorized Registrars and ICANN written notice, and will announce publicly, the introduction of the PS-SLD. The notice period and procedures will be specified in the start-up documentation package.

3. Sunrise Periods

During the Sunrise Period for each PS-SLD, owner of registered trademarks or service marks will be eligible to register Defensive Registrations where:

(a) the trademark or service mark is of national effect (including, for example, European Community Trademarks (CTMs), but excluding United States state registrations); and

(b) the trademark or service mark registration was issued prior to (i) September 30, 2002 for first-phase PS-SLDs or (ii) a date established in the start-up documentation package for other PS-SLDs; and

(c) the Defensive Registration (specifically the third-level label) is identical to the textual or word elements of the trademark or service mark.

In determining whether the Defensive Registration is identical to the textual or word elements of the trademark or service mark (item (c) immediately above), only characters within the "Domain Name Character Set" (as defined in Section 11, Appendix C in the trademark or service mark will be considered. Where there is a space between the textual elements of a mark, the registrant may elect at his, her, or its discretion to use a hyphen or combine the elements together. For example, the mark "SERVICE MARK" could be registered as servicemark.law.pro or service-mark.law.pro. Trademark or service mark registrations from the supplemental or equivalent registry of any country, or from individual states or provinces of a nation, will not be accepted.

3.1 Process

3.1.1 Notice. For the first-phase PS-SLDs, the Registry Operator will make a general public announcement fifteen (15) days prior to the launch of the Sunrise Period that will provide the following information:

3.1.1.1 The estimated commencement date for the Sunrise Period ("Sunrise Start Date");

3.1.1.2 The estimated completion date for accepting Sunrise Registrations ("Sunrise End Date") (which will be at least fifteen, but no more than thirty, days after the Sunrise Start Date); and

3.1.1.3 The description of the Sunrise Period process.

For subsequent-phase PS-SLDs, a similar notification will be provided, but the details (including schedule) will be according to the start-up documentation package submitted by the Registry Operator to ICANN and approved by ICANN under Section 4 of Appendix L.

3.1.2 Sunrise Dates. Beginning with the Sunrise Start Date, the Registry Operator will begin processing Defensive Registrations requests through a batch process, whereby each day all data submitted by Registrars will be randomized and then processed in a series of rounds. In each round, one name will be processed from each Registrar with eligible names remaining in their batch. If a registration request cannot be processed because of an already processed registration with an identical or, in the case of Premium Defensive Registrations, overlapping domain name, the request will be ignored and the next randomized request from the same Registrar will be processed. This process will ensure fairness for each ICANN-accredited Registrar and Applicant.

3.1.3 Sunrise Evaluation Period. After the Sunrise End Date for the first-phase PS-SLDs, the Registry Operator reserves the right, at its discretion, to institute an "Evaluation Period" of up to thirty (30) days prior to launching the Registry Live Period for the PS-SLD. For subsequent-phase PS-SLDs, an Evaluation Period will be held (or not) as specified in the start-up documentation package submitted by the Registry Operator to ICANN and approved by ICANN under Section 4 of Appendix L. The purpose of the Evaluation Period is to provide the Registry Operator the opportunity to evaluate the operation of the Sunrise Period and to allow disputes or necessary modifications stemming from the Sunrise Period to proceed toward resolution.

3.1.4 No Cancellations. During the Sunrise Period and the first sixty (60) days of the Registry Live Period, the Registry Operator will not provide a grace period for cancellation of added registrations. Registred Items may not be transferred to another Registered Item holder until thirty (30) days after the conclusion of the Sunrise Period for the PS-SLD, except according to an Intellectual Property Defensive Registration Challenge decision (as described in Appendix M), a Qualification Challenge decision (see Appendix M), a UDRP decision, or an order from any court of competent jurisdiction.

3.1.6 Minimum Term. The registry fees must be pre-paid at the time of registration for a minimum term of four years for all Defensive Registrations.

3.2 Qualified Registrants

3.2.1 Gathering and Maintenance of Qualification Data. During the Sunrise Period for any PS-SLD, the Registry Operator shall require Authorized Registrars to collect from registrants, examine, and maintain the following information before the Registry Operator will process any registration for the PS-SLD during the Sunrise Period (a "Sunrise Registration").

3.2.1.1 The ASCII character name of the trademark;

3.2.1.2 The date the trademark registration issued;

3.2.1.3 The country of registration;

3.2.1.4 The registration number;

3.2.1.5 Defensive Registration name (s);

3.2.1.6 The identity of the registrar;

3.2.1.7 The beginning and expiration dates of the registration; and

3.2.1.8 Contact information for the registrant, administrative contact, technical contact, and billing contact.

3.2.2 Whois. The Whois data for the Sunrise Registrations (see Subsection 3.2.1 above) will be provided at the Registry level upon their registration, although the domain names will not resolve until the Registry Live Start Date. (Also see Appendix O for description of the Registry Operator-provided Whois.)

3.2.3 Verification. Registration applications will be processed by the Registry Operator only upon completion for conformity to the data requirements for trademark information (see Subsection 3.2.1 of this Appendix J) and verification of .pro registration requirements (see Section 8 of Appendix L).

3.3 Intellectual Property Defensive Registration Challenges. Challenges may be made on the grounds and according to the procedure specified in the Intellectual Property Defensive Registration Challenge Policy and Intellectual Property Defensive Challenge Rules (set forth in Appendix M.) in the case Intellectual Property Defensive Registrations.

4. Registry Live

After the conclusion of the Sunrise Period for a particular PS-SLD, including any Sunrise Evaluation Period, the Registry Live Period for the PS-SLD will commence. During the Registry Live Period, Registered Items will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, provided that all registration requirements are met, including, in the case of domain names, verification of the registrants' right to register in the selected PS-SLD. (See Appendices L and M for details.) Domain name registrations will resolve on a near-real-time basis. Prior to resolution of a domain name, a digital security product will be associated with the domain name. No Defensive Registration will resolve or be associated with a digital security product.

4.1 No Cancellations. During the first sixty (60) days of the Registry Live Period for a particular PS-SLD, the Registry Operator will not provide a grace period for cancellation of added registrations.

5. Dispute-Resolution Providers

5.1 UDRP Dispute-Resolution Providers. UDRP disputes arising in the.pro TLD will follow the UDRP procedures approved by ICANN, including the use of the UDRP providers approved by ICANN and listed at <http://www.icann.org/dndr/udrp/approved-providers.htm>.

5.2 Intellectual Property Defensive Registration Challenge Dispute-Resolution Providers. Intellectual Property Defensive Registration Challenge dispute-resolution providers will be designated according to the procedures described in Appendix M.

5.3 Qualification Challenge Dispute-Resolution Providers. Qualification Challenge dispute-resolution providers will be designated according to the procedures described in Appendix M.

6. Miscellaneous - Disclaimer of Third-Party Liability. The provisions of this Registry Agreement (including Appendices L and M) shall not create any liability on the part of Registry Operator to any person or entity other than ICANN in connection with any dispute concerning any Registered Item or other Registry Service, including the decision of any dispute-resolution proceeding related to any of the foregoing.

Earlier draft:

26 August 2002
11 February 2002



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