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Protecting Trademark Rights in New gTLDs: ICANN Invites Participation on Assistance Group for Trademark Clearinghouse Implementation

One way ICANN is working to protect property rights, and the interests of registrants, in the New gTLD Program is the establishment of a Trademark Clearinghouse. The Trademark Clearinghouse is being designed to increase protections and reduce costs for trademark holders and start-up registries alike.

ICANN is inviting interested stakeholder participants to take part in an Implementation Assistance Group ("IAG"), working with ICANN in implementing the specified processes to be supported by the Trademark Clearinghouse.

The Trademark Clearinghouse will accept and authenticate rights information, and will support both trademark claims and sunrise services, required in all new gTLDs.  The Clearinghouse is expected to play an important role in the launch of the New gTLD Program and in ensuring ongoing protection of trademark rights.

ICANN has issued a request for information [PDF, 244 KB] for providers to perform the Trademark Clearinghouse functions.  The selected provider(s) will be informed by the business requirements already formulated, the recommended framework for implementation of the supporting processes as developed with the IAG, and other inputs.

The Implementation Assistance Group will work on a sequenced schedule incorporating parallel work tracks, with delivery of the recommended requirements requested by March 2012.                                                                

The Implementation Assistance Group is open to any interested participants; however, it is asked that membership be limited to those individuals who are committed to participating actively in the group.  The documents and proceedings of the group will be available on ICANN's website, to enable monitoring of the developments by others who are interested.

Parties interested in volunteering should indicate their interest by contacting <> by 4 November 2011.

More information regarding the Trademark Clearinghouse and its associated services can be found at: [PDF, 550 KB].

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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."