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ICANN Resolutions » Approval of Registry Agreement Specification 13 for Brand Category of Applicants

Important note: The Board Resolutions are as reported in the Board Meeting Transcripts, Minutes & Resolutions portion of ICANN's website. Only the words contained in the Resolutions themselves represent the official acts of the Board. The explanatory text provided through this database (including the summary, implementation actions, identification of related resolutions, and additional information) is an interpretation or an explanation that has no official authority and does not represent the purpose behind the Board actions, nor does any explanations or interpretations modify or override the Resolutions themselves. Resolutions can only be modified through further act of the ICANN Board.

Approval of Registry Agreement Specification 13 for Brand Category of Applicants


Resolution of the New gTLD Program Committee
Topic: 
Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement
Summary: 

NGPC approves Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement (version attached to resolution), along with an additional clause identified in this resolution, and authorizes the President and CEO to implement Specification 13 and the additional clause.

Category: 
gTLDs
Meeting Date: 
Wed, 26 Mar 2014
Resolution Number: 
2014.03.26.NG01 - 2014.03.26.NG02
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, on 2 July 2013, the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) approved the form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement to be entered into by ICANN and successful New gTLD applicants.

Whereas, the Brand Registry Group engaged with ICANN regarding modifications to the New gTLD Registry Agreement to address concerns of their constituents.

Whereas, on 6 December 2013, ICANN posted for public comment a proposed Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement [PDF, 80 KB] ("Specification 13"), which if adopted would provide limited accommodations to registry operators of TLDs that qualify as ".Brand TLDs."

Whereas, the proposed Specification 13 was revised in response to the public comments, including the removal of a provision allowing a registry operator of a .BRAND TLD to designate one or more ICANN accredited registrars as the exclusive registrar(s) for the TLD in response to a comment submitted by a group of eleven registrars. An update to the community and a revised draft was posted on the ICANN Blog on 14 March 2014.

Whereas, on 25 March 2014 the NGPC received notification from the group of registrars that submitted the joint comment referenced above during the public comment period that it no longer objected to the inclusion of a provision allowing a registry operator of a .BRAND TLD to be limited to using no more than two registrars at one time.

Whereas, the NGPC takes specific note of Policy Recommendation 19 in the GNSO's Final Report on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains (8 August 2007), which provides that "registries must use only ICANN accredited registrars in registering domain names and may not discriminate among such accredited registrars."

Whereas, the NGPC has considered all of the comments received from the community, and has determined that the revised Specification 13 provides appropriate and limited accommodations to registry operators of TLDs that qualify as .Brand TLDs.

Whereas, the NGPC is undertaking this action pursuant to the authority granted to it by the Board on 10 April 2012, to exercise the ICANN Board's authority for any and all issues that may arise relating to the New gTLD Program.

Resolved (2014.03.26.NG01), the NGPC approves Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement attached to this Resolution as Annex 1 [PDF, 106 KB] (which does not include the clause allowing a .Brand registry operator to designate a limited number preferred registrars for the TLD), and authorizes the President and CEO, or his designee, to take all necessary steps to implement Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement consistent with this resolution.

Resolved (2014.03.26.NG02), the NGPC approves the incorporation of the additional clause identified below into Specification 13. Implementation will not take effect until 45 days from the publication of this resolution to: (i) provide the GNSO Council an opportunity to advise ICANN as to whether the GNSO Council believes that this additional provision is inconsistent with the letter and intent of GNSO Policy Recommendation 19 on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains; or (ii) advise ICANN that the GNSO Council needs additional time for review, including an explanation as to why additional time is required.

"The second sentence of Section 2.9(a) of the Agreement is superseded by the following:

Subject to the requirements of Specification 11, Registry Operator must either (i) provide non-discriminatory access to Registry Services to all ICANN accredited registrars that enter into and are in compliance with the registry-registrar agreement for the TLD; provided that Registry Operator may establish non-discriminatory criteria for qualification to register names in the TLD that are reasonably related to the proper functioning of the TLD, or (ii) designate no more than three ICANN accredited registrars at any point in time to serve as the exclusive registrar(s) for the TLD."

A .BRAND TLD registry operator may amend its Specification 13 to incorporate this provision upon request as part of implementation. The President and CEO, or his designee, is authorized to take all necessary steps to implement this provision in Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement consistent with this resolution.

Rationale for Resolution: 

On 2 July 2013, the ICANN Board New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) approved the form of the New gTLD Registry Agreement to be entered into by ICANN and successful New gTLD applicants. The NGPC's action today is to approve a proposal to incorporate a new Specification 13 for the New gTLD Registry Agreement. The Brand Registry Group first engaged with ICANN regarding modifications to the New gTLD Registry Agreement to address concerns of their constituents at ICANN's Beijing Conference in April 2013. Specification 13 would provide limited accommodations to registry operators of TLDs that qualify as ".Brand TLDs." As many as one-third of all new gTLD applications might qualify as .Brand TLDs.

Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement reflects months of negotiations on many key issues raised by the community during the public comment forum and other community outreach sessions. The accommodations in the final version of Specification 13 approved today are as follows:

Exemption from the Specification 9 of the Registry Agreement. Specification 9, also referred to as the Code of Conduct, is designed to protect the TLD's registrants, but in the case of a .Brand there is no need to protect the .Brand operator's affiliates and trademark licensees from the .Brand operator.
Deferral of Sunrise requirements. A .Brand TLD's requirement to conduct a Sunrise registration period would be deferred for as long as the TLD continues to qualify as a .Brand TLD. If the TLD ever ceases to operate as a .Brand TLD, then the TLD would have to comply with the Sunrise requirements and hold a Sunrise period within 60 days.
A 2-year "cooling-off" period prior to re-delegation of the .Brand TLD to a successor registry operator, in most cases. The provision does not prevent ICANN's appointment of an EBERO.
Registry Operator must conduct an annual self-audit and certify that the TLD continues to qualify as a .Brand TLD.
Revised definitions of ".Brand TLD" and "Trademark Licensee" to address concerns and adopt several suggestions of the commentators.
Removal of the ability of the .Brand registry operator to designate exclusive registrars for the TLD.