To solicit community input regarding a proposed review mechanism to address perceived inconsistent Expert Determinations in the String Confusion Objection process in the New gTLD Program. The review mechanism will be limited to the Expert Determinations made on String Confusion objections for .CAR/.CARS and .CAM/.COM.
Section I: Description and Explanation
At the direction of the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC), ICANN is soliciting public comment on a proposed review mechanism to address the perceived inconsistent Expert Determinations in certain New gTLD Program String Confusion Objection proceedings. The proposed review mechanism will be limited to the String Confusion Objection Expert Determinations for .CAR/.CARS and .CAM/.COM.
If adopted, the review mechanism would constitute a change to the String Confusion Objection process in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook. Given that the proposal to implement this review mechanism could affect the outcomes of one or more of String Confusion Objections – a process that was informed by years of debate and public comment as part of the development of the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook – the proposed review mechanism is being published for public comment.
Section II: Background
The New gTLD Applicant Guidebook (Guidebook) identifies four grounds upon which a formal objection may be filed against a gTLD application. One such objection is a String Confusion Objection (SCO), which may be filed by an objector (meeting the standing requirements) on the grounds that an applied-for gTLD string is confusingly similar to an existing TLD or to another applied-for gTLD string in the same round of applications. If successful, a SCO could change the configuration of the preliminary contention sets in that the two applied-for gTLD strings will be considered to be in contention with one another (see Guidebook Module 4, String Contention Procedures). The SCOs are administered by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR). Expert Determinations have been issued by the ICDR for all String Confusion Objections filed.
Some members of the community have commented on perceived "inconsistent" SCO Expert Determinations. The NGPC has monitored the SCO Expert Determinations over the past several months, and discussed the community comments at more than one of its meetings. Also, on 10 October 2013 [PDF, 132 KB] the Board Governance Committee (BGC) asked staff to draft a report for the NGPC on String Confusion Objections as some requestors commented on "inconsistencies" in certain SCO Expert Determinations.
Following on from the staff report on String Confusion Objections, the NGPC identified two sets of perceived "inconsistent" SCO Expert Determinations (i.e. objections raised by the same objector against different applications for the same string, where the outcomes of the SCOs differ). At its 5 February 2014 meeting, the NGPC took action to direct the ICANN President and CEO, or his designee, to initiate a public comment period on the framework principles of a potential review mechanism to address the perceived inconsistent SCO Expert Determinations.
Section III: Relevant Resources
- Proposed Review Mechanism to Address the Perceived Inconsistent Expert Determinations of New gTLD Program String Confusion Objections: Framework Principles [PDF, 496 KB]
- New gTLD Applicant Guidebook, Module 4 [PDF, 429 KB]
- ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee Resolution 2014.02.05.NG02
- String Confusion Objection Expert Determinations [PDF, 223 KB]
Section IV: Additional Information