Will Mere Uncertainty Drive Brand Owners To Participate in ICANN’s New gTLDs Effort?

By Amy E. Bivins of

ICANN Trademark Jargon, Like everything else at ICANN, trademark-related discussions are laced with acronyms and buzzwords that can make communications nearly unintelligible to those unfamiliar with the relevant shorthand.

These terms of interest to brand owners come up most often:

ACPA. Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act. A U.S. statute that creates civil liability for cybersquatting against entities that register, traffic in, or use a domain name with a bad faith intent to profit, 15 U.S.C. ยง1125(d)(1)(A). U.S. brand owners always have the option of filing an ACPA lawsuit against a cybersquatter in lieu of pursuing the entity under ICANN’s dispute resolution procedures.

IRT.Implementation Recommendation Team. A group of IP practitioners who, at ICANN’s request, developed a report on trademark issues raised by the new gTLDs program, with recommendations designed to limit those risks. ICANN adopted some of those recommendations, including the trademark clearinghouse and a uniform rapid suspension system. But it rejected others, such as a globally protected marks list.

Trademark Clearinghouse. A new IP protection system for the new gTLDs program. The clearinghouse will offer authentication and validation services for trademark data, on which rights protection mechanisms in the new gTLDs will rely. At the second level, new gTLDs will be required to provide pre-launch IP claims services linked to marks contained in the clearinghouse for at least 60 days. If a domain is registered that matches a mark in the clearinghouse, the provider will send a notice to the trademark owner and registrant

UDRP.Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy. A policy governing all domain name registrars, under which registrants agree that disputes may be resolved through arbitration at the National Arbitration Forum or World Intellectual Property Organization.

URS. ICANN’s uniform rapid suspension system for the new gTLDs program–a faster alternative to UDRP actions for cases of clear-cut infringement. The program will be offered for second-level domains in the new gTLDs in conjunction with a trademark clearinghouse.

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