ICANN’s board meeting in Singapore today voted to launch new top level generic names: apparently 13 voted for, 1 opposed and 2 abstained.
Currently, gTLDs there is a closed system, confined to 22 different types such as .com, .info, .biz etc.
Under the new plan, there won’t be any limits on what can be the top level domain. Thus, if Sony wanted to launch its own top level domain such as .sony or maybe .psp, it could apply to do so.
According to ICANN’s Chairman of the Board:
Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.
ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.
Some reports also indicate that so-called internationalised domain names have been approved; i.e., those using characters other than Latin letters – Chinese, cyrllic etc.
Applications for new gTLDs are planned to be open from January 2012 to April 2012.
It is expected that it will cost US$185,000 to apply.
There looks like lots of “fun” will be in order.
Some names will be “reserved”. (See page 2-8 of the Application Guidebook (really p. 60)). Then there will be questions of applicant suitability and DNS / technical stability.
There will be an objection process to deal with 4 types of disputes:
- String Confusion Objection – The applied-for gTLD string isconfusingly similar to an existing TLD or to another appliedforgTLD string in the same round of applications.
- Legal Rights Objection – The applied-for gTLD stringinfringes the existing legal rights of the objector.
- Limited Public Interest Objection – The applied-for gTLDstring is contrary to generally accepted legal norms ofmorality and public order that are recognized underprinciples of international law.
- Community Objection – There is substantial opposition tothe gTLD application from a significant portion of thecommunity to which the gTLD string may be explicitly orimplicitly targeted.
See page 3-4 (really p. 150) of Module 3.
For IP owners, there will be a trademark clearinghouse process and, after designation of new gTLDS, a post-delegation dispute resolution procedure.
So, if you own a trademark, you may want to start planning now about how you are going to protect your interests even if you don’t plan to set up your own cyberspace.