Seeking comments on the Revised Public Interest Commitments Dispute Resolution Procedure
Section I: Description and Explanation
As previously reported, a dispute resolution procedure will be put in place to address complaints that a Registry in the New gTLD Program may not be complying with the Public Interest Commitment(s) in Specification 11 of their Registry Agreement with ICANN. A draft procedure was published in draft form on 15 March 2013. A variety of feedback was provided, including comments submitted through public comment forum. ICANN has considered the input received and has created a Revised PICDRP [PDF, 209 KB] that is being published for comment.
Section II: Background
Specification 11 in potentially over 500 new gTLD Registry Agreements will have voluntary Public Interest Commitments that the Registry has made and with which the Registry has agreed to comply. Specification 11 will also have mandatory Public Interest Commitments that the Registry must comply with in all new gTLD Registry Agreements. To effectively and efficiently resolve any issues that might arise regarding non-compliance with a Registry’s Public Interest Commitments, ICANN Contractual Compliance will administer the PICDRP.
Section III: Relevant Resources
Section IV: Additional Information
Comments submitted during the previous public comment period have largely been addressed in this Revised PICDRP, including the request that ICANN itself ensured compliance with the PICDRP. ICANN notes that a couple of comments submitted in the public comment forum suggested that the standard of harm be changed from "measurable" to "material" and that the burden of proof be changed from "preponderance of evidence" to "clear and convincing evidence." ICANN has considered these requests in light of the nature of the obligations that are to be challenged under the PICDRP. We note that these specific issues were debated during the development of the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (Trademark PDDRP) and the Registry Restriction Dispute Resolution Procedure (RRDRP), and a distinction was made between the standards and burden of proof for the Trademark PDDRP as opposed to the RRDRP because of the obligations that those procedures were meant to address. As the Trademark PDDRP is intended to essentially address a pattern and practice of misconduct by the registry operator, the community discussion ultimately lead to a standard of harm and burden of proof higher than that for the RRDRP, in which the Registry Operator is being challenged for failing to comply with a commitment that it made in its Registry Agreement. Given that the PICDRP will also be challenging the Registry Operator's failure to comply with a commitment that it made in its Registry Agreement, it seems logical to adopt the same standard and burden of proof as found in the RRDRP. Accordingly, the standard of harm and burden of proof in the PICDRP will remain as stated in the version that was posted for public comment.