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Trademark Issues to be Addressed Ahead of Internet Address Expansion | Discussions Show Progress

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Mexico City, Mexico… March 7, 2009: ICANN's 34th International public meeting in Mexico City has drawn to a close after the organization's Board of Directors approved the establishment by staff of an Implementation  Recommendation Team (IRT) comprised of an internationally diverse group of  people to develop and propose solutions to the over-arching issue of trademark protection in connection with the introduction of new generic top level domain  names (gTLDs).

"The Board has clearly heard and believes strongly that the concerns of trademark holders must be addressed before this process is opened for applications," said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ICANN. "The establishment of this team, is an attempt to get proposed solutions from the people with skill in trademark protection and other issues."

The IRT will be comprised of people who put forward solutions in the first public comment period on the new GTLD Applicant Guidebook. The IRT has been asked to draft a report by 24 April for comment and to produce a final report no later than 24 May so it can be considered at ICANN's Sydney meeting in June.

The Mexico City meeting was also saw the release of a study that pointed to the public benefit of new gTLDs.

The study, commissioned by ICANN, was conducted by University of Chicago Economics Professor Dennis Carlton. "The likely effect of ICANN's proposal is to increase output, lower price and increase innovation," said Carlton. "I conclude that ICANN's proposed framework for introducing new TLDs is likely to improve consumer welfare by facilitating entry and creating new competition."

In other notable decisions, the Board discussed the substance of changes to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) which include:

  • New enforcement tools – new Registrar Audit and a group liability provision amongst other things.
  • Registrant protections – shining a light on the risks of proxy registration.
  • Consistent minimum standards of service for all registrars.
  • A modernizing of the agreement to get up-to-date with the domain name market.

These changes were unanimously agreed upon by the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). The Board asked that the changes be published for public comment for no less than thirty days with a commitment to act on approval of the amendments at the earliest opportunity.

"This maintains a policy of timely, accurate and unrestricted public access to Whois data but also adds new enforcement tools which fits well with ICANN's increased emphasis on compliance" said Paul Twomey, President and CEO of ICANN.

Attendees of the Mexico City conference also discussed the impacts of Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), which will allow internet uses to enter internet addresses in languages other than English.

Further, implementation of the upgrade of the Internet's protocol to IPv6, which will vastly expand the number of available Internet addresses was also a topic of discussion. Estimates are that under the current protocol (IPv4) the number of available internet addresses will be exhausted in 3 to 4 years.

Finally, ICANN Board Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush thanked the Internet Mexican Association (AMIPCI) for helping to coordinate and host the Mexico City Conference.

ICANN's next international public meeting is scheduled to take place in Sydney, Australia, 21- 26 June, 2009.

About ICANN:

To reach another person on the Internet you have to type an address into your computer - a name or a number. That address has to be unique so computers know where to find each other. ICANN coordinates these unique identifiers across the world. Without that coordination we wouldn't have one global Internet. ICANN was formed in 1998. It is a not-for-profit public-benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable. It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet's unique identifiers. ICANN doesn't control content on the Internet. It cannot stop spam and it doesn't deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet's naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet. For more information please visit:

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Domain Name System
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."