By Trevor Little
April 17 2012
It has been a busy week at ICANN HQ. While it has revived the issue of trademark protection at the second level and issued the draft implementation model of the Trademark Clearinghouse, the application process remains at a standstill – with today’s planned re-opening of the online application system further delayed.
ICANN took the TLD Application System (TAS) offline after a technical glitch allowed some applicants to see the file and user names of other applicants. The organisation had hoped to re-open TAS today (April 17) but has now confirmed that this will not happen.
In its latest announcement, it states: “we believe that we have fixed the glitch, and we are testing it to make sure”. ICANN also confirmed its intention to inform all applicants whether they had been affected by the glitch prior to re-opening the system.
WTR approached ICANN for further information but the organisation is directing all queries to its dedicated TAS interruption page, where it intends to provide an update on the timing of the reopening no later than Friday April 20 at 23.59 (UTC). However, it admits that, based on a preliminary search of customer service enquiries, the issue was first reported by a user on March 19.
In a statement posted at the weekend, ICANN remained optimistic that the April 30 reveal date would go ahead, but noted that it was “subject to change” – and the latest announcement makes such change more likely.
Elsewhere in the ICANN world, prior to last week’s suspension of TAS, the organisation reacted to concerns about second-level trademark infringement, establishing a New gTLD Program Committee, which has tasked “staff to provide a briefing paper on the topic of defensive registrations at the second level, and requests the GNSO to consider whether additional work on defensive registrations at the second level should be undertaken”.
However, while acknowledging receipt of GNSO's recommendation on extending protections to the Red Cross/Red Crescent and the International Olympic Committee names at the top level, the committee chose “to not change the Applicant Guidebook at this time”.
Days later, ICANN published the draft implementation model of the Trademark Clearinghouse, expanding on the processes it expects. All new gTLD registries will be “required to use clearinghouse data to ensure that a set of mandatory trademark rights protection mechanisms are applied to all new domain registrations occurring in at least the first 90 days of domain registration”, with the body designed as a “fact-checker” – the document notes that “all determinations should be made on the basis of a programmatic review of the data submitted, rather than on extended dialogues between submitters and the clearinghouse. If data is not trademark capable of authentication as submitted, it should generally be rejected without any prejudice toward resubmission of the data”.
Key components of the clearinghouse are the required data protection measures, “to ensure that information deemed sensitive is protected against misuse and abuse. Through the use of established and well-understood one-way encryption algorithms, matching processes can occur without exposing any potentially sensitive data. This permits the clearinghouse to provide data sets to registries that facilitate the necessary lookup functions for rights protection mechanisms without exposing any trademark data.”
While reassuring, the hope is that such a system will not be prone to the type of technical glitch that has resulted in the exposure of gTLD application details.
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