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Request for Proposal for the Independent Review of the Trademark Clearinghouse

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is seeking one or more provider(s) to conduct an independent review of the Trademark Clearinghouse to assess the effectiveness of three key areas related to the Clearinghouse in meeting its intended objectives and to identify considerations for future application rounds of the New gTLD Program. The three key areas for examination in this review include: (a) Trademark Clearinghouse Guidelines and Verification Process; (b) Sunrise Period; and (c) Trademark Claims Service. The selected provider(s) will design and execute a study to create a meaningful report of quantitative and qualitative data on the specified areas for examination. The draft Report will be posted for comment and updated based on the feedback received. The final report will be published and provided to the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) for review and consideration. ICANN is seeking one or more qualified providers to manage this complex exercise in a timely and efficient manner.

ICANN anticipates a contract to be signed and work to begin with the selected provider(s) no later than October 2015.

Based on the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) recommendation in May 2011 for a comprehensive post-launch independent review of the Clearinghouse to be conducted one year after the launch of the 75th new gTLD in the round, ICANN has pledged to undertake a review to assess processes pertaining to the Clearinghouse in conjunction with the specified areas for review proposed by the GAC. The GAC recommended areas for review should examine whether the aims, functionality and operations of the Clearinghouse would benefit from extending the period of the Clearinghouse notifications beyond the 90 days and whether the automated system should allow the inclusion of non-exact matches.

In addition, this review will incorporate a thorough assessment of the effectiveness of TMCH related processes in meeting their intended rights protection objectives. It is expected that the independent review will help identify other issues for evaluation that should be included in the analysis of the Trademark Clearinghouse, such as issues that could be addressed in policy development work in the community. Furthermore, it is anticipated the review will help inform the discussion and enable consideration of the rights protection mechanisms available in the domain name space.

As the Trademark Clearinghouse was developed to support rights protection mechanisms and serve a large ecosystem of Trademark Holders and Trademark Agents, registries, registrars, as well as registrants, the study must be able to capture inputs in a representative manner from across the multitude of players relevant to the new domain namespace.

For additional information and instructions for submitting responses please click here [ZIP, 612 KB].

Proposals should be submitted to TMCHIndependentReview-RFP@icann.org by 23:59 UTC on 28 August 2015.


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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."