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Protecting Trademark Rights in New gTLDs: Selection of Trademark Clearinghouse Service Providers

ICANN is pleased to announce that it is working with Deloitte and IBM on implementation of Trademark Clearinghouse services.

The Trademark Clearinghouse will function as an information repository, offering authentication and validation services for trademark data. Trademark holders and gTLD registry operators will rely on the Clearinghouse to support rights protection mechanisms for the new gTLD space. The Clearinghouse is designed to be available globally, with capabilities for validating trademark data from multiple global regions.

In accordance with the direction set by the community, the authentication and database administration functions of the Clearinghouse are separated. Upon the anticipated execution of final agreement(s), Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services (a department of Deloitte Bedrijfsrevisoren BV ovve CVBA) will serve as the authenticator/validator service provider, and IBM [International Business Machines of Belgium sprl / bvba] will provide technical database administration services. Both Parties will subcontract IPClearingHouse BVBA (aka CHIP) in order to facilitate theses services.

Both providers are highly qualified, with significant experience, technical capacity, and proven ability to manage and support processes.

About Deloitte: "Deloitte" is the brand under which her member firms offer a broad range of audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk and tax services to clients all over the world. In this respect, Deloitte's validation team has been provided the opportunity to manage several successful Sunrise validation processes for many ccTLDs and gTLDs, including but not limited to .ASIA, .TEL, .ME, .CO, .SO.

About IBM: IBM is an industry pioneer and has deep and broad experience. IBM knows how to play the role of a strategic partner - one that will bring industry thought leadership to the table and proactively contribute to customers' business and IT strategy. IBM has one of the largest global infrastructures, which has led to economies of scale that is passed on to its customers. IBM's excellent IT professionals and ability to leverage intellectual capital has led to one of the most respected groups of IT skills in the industry.

These service providers have been selected out of a process of consideration in accordance with the Request for Information issued 3 October 2011. Requirements for candidate service providers included: a demonstrated understanding of the issues concerning global intellectual property rights and the Internet, global capability to authenticate and validate trademark information, and experience designing, building, and operating secure transaction processing systems with 24/7/365 availability. ICANN has also sought candidates with a proven ability to manage and support processes in multiple languages, in addition to fulfillment of the technical requirements.

ICANN is currently working with Deloitte and IBM to build and prepare for operation of Trademark Clearinghouse services to support the new gTLDs. Both firms will take part in the public discussion refining technical and operating specifications.

Information about the Trademark Clearinghouse, including the current implementation model, and estimated fees, is available at This page is a new resource and will be updated on a regular basis to track progress toward launch of the Clearinghouse operations.

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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."