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New gTLDs and Trademark Issues: Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT)

As directed by ICANN's Board in a recent resolution (see http://www.icann.org/en/minutes/resolutions-06mar09.htm), the Intellectual Property Constituency (IPC) has formed an Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT). Members of the IRT are listed here [PDF, 20K]. The IRT has been formed to provide possible solutions to trademark issues raised in the new Generic Top-Level Domain (New gTLDs) implementation planning.

The IRT held an initial administrative teleconference meeting on 25 March, 2009 to, among other things, establish working rules and agendas for future meetings. The first face-to-face working meeting is planned for 1 April in Washington, DC. The Board resolution calls for a draft report to be issued publicly by the IRT by 24 April, 2009, and a final report to be issued by 24 May that will be open for public comment. The quick formation of the team, and active engagement by many participants is in service of this ambitious timeline.

Results of IRT work will be part of follow-on ICANN consultations regarding the overarching issues (see http://www.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-3-18feb09-en.htm) identified in the new gTLD implementation work. Finally, any modifications to the implementation, embodied in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook and registry agreements will be open to at least one more round of public comment and feedback.

While the IRT has been specifically formed at the request of the Board, it is expected that other individuals and groups will offer recommendations relevant to trademark protection issues. ICANN welcomes these additional recommendations and will facilitate the work to the extent feasible. Recommendations can be posted directly to the new gTLD comments pages http://www.icann.org/en/topics/new-gtlds/comments-2-en.htm and/or individuals or groups can contact ICANN staff implementing the new gTLD program for more information (email newgtld@icann.org). It is expected that these other ideas will also be considered in follow-on ICANN consultations. More details about the ICANN consultations schedule will be published soon.

Thanks to all of the IRT participants for tackling this important issue, and forming quickly.

New gTLDs and the Internet

Openness Change Innovation

After years of discussion and thought, generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) are being expanded. They will allow for more innovation, choice and change to a global Internet presently served by just 21 generic top-level domain names.

A draft Applicant Guidebook describing the detailed application process has been developed with opportunities for public comment. The draft Guidebook also describes processes for objections to applications. There has been detailed technical scrutiny to ensure the Internet's stability and security. There is an evaluation fee to recover costs only.

ICANN is a not for profit corporation dedicated to coordinating the Internet's addressing system. Promoting competition and choice is one of the principles upon which ICANN was founded. In a world with 1.5 billion Internet users (and growing), diversity, choice and innovation are key. The Internet has supported huge increases in choice, innovation and the competition of ideas and expanding new gTLDs is an opportunity for more.

Media Contact:

Brad White
Director of Media Affairs
Tel: +1 202 429 2710
Email: brad.white@icann.org


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Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."