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Assignment of a Registry Agreement

An assignment of a Registry Agreement occurs when the registry operator transfers any of its rights and/or obligations under the Registry Agreement from the current registry operator to another entity. These transactions may be classified as:

ICANN org conducts due diligence to understand and evaluate the entity that is expected to operate the top-level domain ("TLD") and to have reasonable assurances that this entity will continue to enable the secure, stable, and resilient operation of the TLD (e.g., ICANN org may assess financial resources, operational and technical capabilities, and/or transaction structure, and will perform background screenings). Assignments are also subject to the Registry Transition Process, see Registry Transition Process webpage for additional information.

View completed Assignments

Assignment Process

Below are general instructions for submitting assignment requests organized by the assignment types. The steps below highlight key considerations and preparations that registry operators should make prior to submitting a service request case in the Naming Services portal (NSp).

Before You Submit: Considerations and Preparation

Prior to submission, ICANN org encourages registry operators to:

  • Review the relevant sections of the Registry Agreement.
  • Review the types of assignments below along with the Assignments Required Information.
  • Consider the type that will apply to your proposed assignment.
  • Organize a consultation call with your account manager to review the proposed transaction, timing, and to discuss any questions. To schedule a consultation call, open a General Inquiry case in the Naming Services portal (NSp) or contact your account manager directly.*
  • Prepare the information and documentation for submission. Please review the Naming Service portal User Guide for Registries for detailed instructions on submitting a service request case.

*Note that any such inquiries shall not be considered notice of an assignment as required by the Registry Agreement. Registry operators are not to construe any consultations with ICANN org as legal, business or tax advice. Each registry operator should consult its own attorney, accountant or other professional advisors concerning legal, business, tax, or other matters concerning the proposed assignment.

Assignment to Affiliated Assignee

Occurs when the proposed assignee is an Affiliated Assignee (as defined in Section 7.5(f) of the Registry Agreement) and the Affiliated Assignee has expressly assumed in writing the terms and conditions of the Registry Agreement.

  1. Request Submission - The assignor must select "Assignment to Affiliate" to initiate a case in NSp. The assignor must provide ICANN org with the required information and documentation for review. Please see the Assignments Required Information for more details.
  2. ICANN Review - ICANN org will review the information, responses, and supporting documents submitted.
  3. Determination - After the registry operator satisfies the requirements, ICANN org will acknowledge the assignment via an Acknowledgement of Assignment letter. ICANN will reflect the assignment on its webpages, including by publishing the applicable assignment and assumption agreement.

Assignment to Existing Registry Operator

Occurs when the proposed assignee is an existing registry operator of at least one gTLD (and only if the existing registry operator is in compliance with the terms of its registry agreement(s) governing the gTLD(s) it operates) and is not an Affiliated Assignee.

  1. Request Submission – The assignor must select "Assignment to Existing Registry Operator" to initiate a case in NSp. The assignor must provide ICANN org with the required information and documentation for review. ICANN org will open a separate case for the proposed assignee. The proposed assignee must provide ICANN org with the required information and documentation for review in NSp within 2 calendar days of receiving the case in order for ICANN org to have the necessary time to review the request within the 10 calendar days as noted below in ICANN Review. Please see the Assignments Required Information for more details.
  2. ICANN Review - ICANN org will review the information, responses, and supporting documents submitted and will respond within 10 calendar days of ICANN's receipt of notice of the proposed assignment.
  3. Determination - ICANN org will provide one of the following responses to the proposed assignment request:
    • Conditional Consent - ICANN org may issue a Conditional Consent to Assignment letter whereby ICANN approves the assignment request, contingent upon the satisfaction of certain conditions. These conditions usually require the assignor and proposed assignee to provide additional documentation, including an assignment and assumption agreement, data escrow agreement and/or continued operations instrument.

      Note, this additional documentation should not be executed until after ICANN's conditional consent has been granted. ICANN org will conduct a review of the additional documentation and if sufficient (and if the proposed assignee is in compliance with the terms of its registry agreement(s) governing the gTLD(s) it operates at the time of satisfaction of the conditions), ICANN org will grant its final consent and approve the assignment request via a Release of Conditions to Consent letter. ICANN org will then reflect the assignment on its webpages, including by publishing the applicable assignment and assumption agreement.

    • Objection and/or Request for Additional Information - if the information, responses, or documentation submitted is insufficient to proceed with Conditional Consent or not provided in a timely manner, ICANN org may object to the proposed assignment request. Should ICANN org request additional information to further evaluate the proposed assignment, the assignor must supply the requested information within fifteen (15) calendar days.

Assignment to New Registry Operator

Occurs when the proposed assignee is not an existing registry operator and is not an Affiliated Assignee.

  1. Request Submission – The assignor must select "Assignment to New Registry Operator" to initiate a case in NSp. The assignor must provide ICANN org with the required information and documentation for review. ICANN org will open a separate case for the proposed assignee. The proposed assignee must provide ICANN org with the required information and documentation for review in NSp within 5 calendar days of receiving the case in order for ICANN org and its external providers to have the necessary time to review the request. Please see the Assignments Required Information for more details.
  2. ICANN Review - Background screening and financial evaluation will be conducted by external providers and the proposed assignee will be responsible for the evaluation fees. ICANN org will review the evaluation results as well as the information, responses, supporting documents submitted and will respond within 30 calendar days of ICANN's receipt of notice of the proposed assignment.
  3. Determination - ICANN org will provide one of the following outcomes of the proposed assignment request:
    • Conditional Consent - ICANN org may issue a Conditional Consent to Assignment letter whereby ICANN approves the assignment request, contingent upon the satisfaction of certain conditions. These conditions usually require the assignor and proposed assignee to provide additional documentation, including an assignment and assumption agreement, data escrow agreement and/or continued operations instrument.

      Note, this additional documentation should not be executed until after ICANN's conditional consent has been granted. ICANN org will conduct a review of the additional documentation and if sufficient, ICANN org will grant its final consent and approve the assignment request via a Release of Conditions to Consent letter. ICANN org will then reflect the assignment on its webpages, including by publishing the applicable assignment and assumption agreement.

    • Consent Withheld and/or Request for Additional Information - if the information, responses, or documentation submitted is insufficient to proceed with Conditional Consent or not provided in a timely manner, ICANN org may withhold consent to the proposed assignment request. Should ICANN org request additional information to further evaluate the proposed assignment, the assignor must supply the requested information within fifteen (15) calendar days.

The proposed assignee is responsible for fees incurred for evaluations conducted by external providers. Fees may vary depending on the nature of the transaction but typically will not exceed US $19,000 for a single TLD assignment to a new registry operator.

Resources

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""icann.org"" is not an IDN."