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Draft Changes to String Similarity Review Proposed by GNSO Council – Public Comments Requested

On 10 June, the GNSO Council passed a resolution requesting that a 21-day public comment period be opened regarding a proposal to send the following letter be sent to Kurt Pritz, Senior Vice President, Services, copy to the ICANN Board, recommending that the Draft Applicant Guidebook version IV section on “Outcomes of the String Similarity Review” be amended to allow applicants to request an Extended Review under applicable terms similar to those provided for other issues such as “DNS Stability: String Review Procedure”. The GNSO Council further recommends that a section be added on “String Similarity – Extended Review” that parallels other such sections in Module 2.

The text of the GNSO Council resolution and draft letter may be found here [PDF, 12 KB].

Background Information

The GNSO Council is concerned that the Draft Applicant Guidebook, Version 4 does not include an Extended Review option for strings that fail the initial evaluation for confusing similarity and likelihood to confuse. The GNSO Council in Recommendation #2 of the GNSO Final Report on the Introduction of New gTLDs in September 2007 intended to prevent confusing and detrimental similarity and not similarity that could serve the users of the Internet. More recently, the IDNG Drafting Team established by the GNSO Council has discussed various circumstances where applicants for strings that may be designated as confusingly similar in the initial evaluation may be able to present a case showing that the string is not detrimentally similar to another string. The Council proposes that a letter be sent recommending changes to the Draft Applicant Guidebook to address this concern.

Further Information

Full information about the new gTLD program may be found at:

Comments are due by 2 July 2010.

Staff Responsible: Liz Gasster

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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"""" is not an IDN."