ICANN’s public meeting demonstrates desire for action

Some progress on improvements to  dispute resolution procedures and to meet lawyers’ need for WHOIS information related to online infringers.

Over 2,500 participants from 130 countries participated in more than 70 sessions at ICANN’s 66th public meeting in Montreal, Canada, on November 2 – 7, 2019. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is responsible for the global domain name system.

Sessions included the continuous overview of dispute resolution procedures for the new generic top-level domains (gTLD), and the work to find a solution for IP Attorneys to get WHOIS Data Access within the frame of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Progress on non-public generic top-level domain data

The Expedited Policy Development Process (EPDP) on the Temporary Specification for gTLD Registration Data Team met for a total of 14 hours in Montreal.

The EPDP Team continued its deliberations on the building blocks it will use to form the policy recommendations in its Initial Report. ICANN has collaborated with the European Commission in an effort to test a hypothetical Unified Access Model (UAM), where ICANN would act as a centralised gateway for the distribution of non-public gTLD registration data.

The so-called “Strawberry Team”, a group of ICANN staff is working in parallel to the EPDP team that works with the WHOIS topic.

The Strawberry Team has sent a paper to the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) asking for comments and guidelines for a hypothetical Unified Access Model (UAM), where ICANN would act as a centralised gateway for the distribution of non-public gTLD registration data, that will make it easier to identify the domain holder in disputes.

The EPDP Team will likely publish its Initial Report in January 2020.

All Rights Protection Mechanisms report moves closer

The Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs working group is coming closer to its draft initial report on the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) and the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) Rights Protection Mechanism.

Many of the URS Sub Team recommendations are related to ensuring appropriate operations by URS providers to comply with updated domain name registration data policy that, in certain cases, conflicts with existing URS requirements.

For instance, the URS formally requires that all URS complaints identify the registrant name and physical address – information that is no longer generally published in public WHOIS records.  The Working Group also confirmed its agreement to recommend that the RPM Review Implementation Review Team develop a uniform set of guidance for all URS providers to promulgate to their examiners defining an appropriate level of rationale to be included in all URS decisions.

Following ICANN66, the working group will complete the review of URS individual proposals and subteam recommendations and begin the review of the draft Initial Report. The Initial Report is expected to be published for Public Comment in January 2020.

Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy next to be tackled

The next step for this working group is to make an overview of the well-known Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Next steps

  • The regulation of domain names is of critical importance to trade mark owners. FICPI is a founder member of ICANN’s IPC.
  • If you are interested in learning more about this important area and/or contributing to FICPI’s work, please contact Coleen Morrison, President of FICPI’s Study and Work Committee or Petter Rindforth, FICPI Special Reporter for Domain Names.