ICANN Resolutions » Reconsideration Requests 15-19 (the ICANN Business Constituency & the ICANN Noncommercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG)) and 15-20 (The Internet Commerce Association)

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Reconsideration Requests 15-19 (the ICANN Business Constituency & the ICANN Noncommercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG)) and 15-20 (The Internet Commerce Association)


Resolution of the ICANN Board
Topic: 
Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20
Summary: 

Reconsideration Requests 15-19 (the ICANN Business Constituency & the ICANN Noncommercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG)) and 15-20 (The Internet Commerce Association)

Category: 
Board
General
ICANN Structures
Meeting Date: 
周三, 3 二月 2016
Resolution Number: 
2016.02.03.11
Resolution Text: 

Whereas, the ICANN Business Constituency and the ICANN Noncommercial Stakeholders Group filed Reconsideration Request 15-19, and the Internet Commerce Association filed Reconsideration Request 15-20 (collectively, "Requesters"), both of which seek reconsideration of ICANN Board Resolutions 2015.09.28.04 (renewal of .CAT registry agreement), 2015.09.28.05 (renewal of .TRAVEL registry agreement), and 2015.09.28.06 (renewal of .PRO registry agreement).

Whereas, the Board Governance Committee ("BGC") thoroughly considered the issues raised in Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20 and all related materials.

Whereas, the BGC recommended that Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20 be denied because the Requesters have not stated proper grounds for reconsideration, and the Board agrees.

Resolved (2016.02.03.11), the Board adopts the BGC's Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20, which can be found at https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/reconsideration-request-15-1... [PDF, 146 KB].

Rationale for Resolution: 

Brief Summary

In passing Board Resolutions 2015.09.28.04, 2015.09.28.05, and 2015.09.28.06 (collectively, the "Resolutions"), the ICANN Board approved the renewal of registry agreements for three legacy TLDs—.CAT, .TRAVEL, and .PRO, respectively. The three renewed registry agreements ("Renewed Registry Agreements") are the result of bilateral negotiations between ICANN staff and the respective registry operators. The Renewed Registry Agreements are based on the form of the registry agreement for new gTLDs ("New gTLD Registry Agreement") and include new gTLD rights protection mechanisms ("RPMs") such as the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure ("Trademark PDDRP") and the Uniform Rapid Suspension system ("URS"), which did not exist under the legacy registry agreements.

In seeking reconsideration of the Resolutions, the Requesters note that the Generic Names Supporting Organization ("GNSO") has not yet issued a consensus policy regarding the application of new gTLD RPMs to legacy TLDs and suggest that the Renewed Registry Agreements represent an attempt by ICANN staff to preempt that policy development process. The Requesters further assert that, in passing the Resolutions, the Board failed to consider: (1) the details of the relevant contract negotiations, specifically email communications and other documents reflecting communications between ICANN staff and the relevant registry operators; and (2) a later-published preliminary issue report by ICANN staff regarding gTLD RPMs ("Preliminary Issue Report"), which recommends, among other things, that a GNSO policy development process be undertaken to address the application of RPMs to legacy TLDs generally.

The Requesters' claims do not support reconsideration. The inclusion of the new gTLD RPMs in the Renewed Registry Agreements is part of the package of agreed-upon terms resulting from the bilateral negotiations between ICANN and each registry operator, and not, as Requesters claim, a "unilateral decision by ICANN contractual staff." The Requesters present no evidence to the contrary – i.e., that applying the new gTLD RPMs to the Renewed Registry Agreements was based on a unilateral decision by ICANN staff. The Requesters suggest that the Board should have reviewed all of ICANN staff's communications with the .CAT, .TRAVEL, and .PRO registry operators in order to confirm that the negotiations were in fact bilateral. Such contention, however, does not support reconsideration. Staff provided the Board with all material information, including the comments from the public comment forum, for consideration. In approving the Resolutions, the Board considered all material information provided by staff. No policy or procedure requires the Board to review each and every email or other written exchange between ICANN staff and registry operators during the course of the negotiations and the Requesters do not identify any particular piece of material information that the Board failed to consider. Moreover, as is publicly posted in the respective public comment reports as well as in the Board's rationales for each of the Resolutions, the registry operators specifically "expressed their interest to renew their registry agreement based on the New gTLD Registry Agreement." Indeed, not one of these registry operators has indicated that their renewal negotiations were anything but bilateral or sought reconsideration of either staff or Board action as it relates to the Renewed Registry Agreements. Further, the registry agreements each called for presumptive renewal of the agreements at their expiration so long as certain requirements were met – meaning that, if the parties took no action, the registry agreements would have renewed automatically under the same terms as the original registry agreements so as long as the registry operators were in good standing at the time of renewal as provided in the registry agreements.1 At the time of renewal, these registry operators were in good standing and were therefore subject to the terms of the presumptive renewal. The registry operators, however, elected to enter into negotiations with ICANN based on the existing New gTLD Registry Agreement terms.

As the Requesters have not demonstrated that the Board failed to consider any material information in passing the Resolutions, they have not stated a basis for reconsideration of the Resolutions.

Facts

The BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20, which sets forth in detail the facts relevant to this matter, is hereby incorporated by reference and shall be deemed a part of this Rationale. The BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20 is available at https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/reconsideration-request-15-1... [PDF, 146 KB], and is attached as Exhibit C to the Reference Materials.

Issues

In view of the claims set forth in Requests 15-19 and 15-20, the issues for reconsideration are whether ICANN's Board failed to consider material information in passing the Resolutions approving the renewal of the registry agreements for .CAT, .TRAVEL, and .PRO.

The Relevant Standards for Evaluating Reconsideration Requests

The BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20, which sets forth the relevant standards for evaluating reconsideration requests, is hereby incorporated by reference and shall be deemed a part of this Rationale. The BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20 is available at https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/reconsideration-request-15-1... [PDF, 146 KB], and is attached as Exhibit C to the Reference Materials.

Analysis and Rationale

The Requesters claim, without support, that ICANN staff unilaterally imposed the New gTLD Registry Agreement as a starting point for the Renewed Registry Agreements and, therefore, "transform[ed] the PDDRP and URS into de facto Consensus Policies without following the procedures laid out in ICANN's Bylaws for their creation." Contrary to what the Requesters claim, while the registry operators had a presumptive right of renewal under the terms of their existing legacy registry agreement, they chose to re-negotiate and renew their agreements based upon the New gTLD Registry Agreement terms.

The Board's Rationales for the Resolutions as well as the public comment reports make clear that the Renewed Registry Agreements were "based on the bilateral negotiations between ICANN and the [respective] Registry Operator[s], where [the] Registry Operator[s] expressed their interest to renew their registry agreement based on the New gTLD Registry Agreements." The Board further stated in the Rationales for the Resolutions that the "inclusion of the URS was developed as part of the proposal in bilateral negotiations," and confirmed that the URS "has not been adopted as a consensus policy and ICANN has no ability to make it mandatory for any TLDs other than new gTLD applicants who applied during the first round," and that "the Board's approval of the Renewal Registry Agreements[s] for .CAT, .PRO, and .TRAVEL] is not a move to make the URS mandatory for any legacy TLDs, and it would be inappropriate to do so." In short, the Requesters' claim that the provisions of the New gTLD Registry Agreement were in some way imposed on the registry operators is unsupported.

Reconsideration of a Board action, the process that Requesters have invoked here, is warranted only where the Board took action without consideration of material information or with reliance upon false or inaccurate information. Here, the Requesters do not identify any material information that the Board purportedly failed to consider in passing the Resolutions. More specifically, the Requesters provide no support for their argument that the Board failed to consider "the actual record of exchanges—emails and other correspondence, as well as notes and minutes of meeting and discussions—between [ICANN] staff and officers and the personnel of these three registries that would support the conclusion that [the parties engaged in] bilateral negotiations…" The Requesters also present no support for their claim that the Board failed to consider the Preliminary Issue Report (because it "did not exist at the time of the Board's decision"). As a result, the BGC concluded and the Board agrees that reconsideration is not appropriate.

First, the Requesters do not identify any material information that the Board purportedly failed to consider. That is, the Requesters do not identify any evidence that the negotiations between ICANN and the registry operators were not bilateral in nature because no such evidence exists. As there is no policy or procedure that requires the Board to review each and every email or other written exchange between ICANN staff and registry operators during the course of the contract negotiations, the Requesters do not and cannot identify such a policy or procedure. The Requesters' substantive disagreement with the Board's actions does not mean that the Board's actions were taken without consideration of all relevant material information.

Second, the Requesters claim that the Board failed to consider the Preliminary Issue Report, which invited community feedback regarding the inclusion of several topics in a GNSO policy development process charter, including "whether any of the new [RPMs] (such as the URS) should, like the UDRP, be Consensus Policies applicable to all gTLDs." The Requesters claim that, in light of the Preliminary Issue Report, the Renewed Registry Agreements will "interfer[e] with the standard policy development process." However, as the Requesters acknowledge, the Preliminary Issue Report did not exist at the time the Resolutions were approved, and thus could not constitute "material information" the Board failed to consider in approving the Resolutions. As such, no reconsideration is warranted on this basis.

In addition, the Board does not find, as the Requesters suggest, that the Renewed Registry Agreements will "interfere[e] with the standard policy development process." As discussed above, the Board explicitly acknowledged, in the Rationales for the Resolutions, that the URS has not been adopted as consensus policy and that ICANN therefore has no ability to impose the URS (or other new RPMs applicable to new gTLDs) on legacy TLDs. The existence of certain RPMs in the Renewed Registry Agreements, therefore, has no bearing on the GNSO policy development process to determine whether (or not) any of the new RPMs should be consensus policies applicable to all gTLDs. Accordingly, reconsideration is not appropriate.

The full BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20, which sets forth the analysis and rationale in detail and with which the Board agrees, is hereby incorporated by reference and shall be deemed a part of this Rationale. The BGC Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20 is available at https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/reconsideration-request-15-1... [PDF, 146 KB], and is attached as Exhibit C to the Reference Materials.

Decision

The Board had the opportunity to consider all of the materials submitted by or on behalf of the Requesters or that otherwise relate to Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20. Following consideration of all relevant information provided, the Board reviewed and has adopted the BGC's Recommendation on Reconsideration Requests 15-19 and 15-20 (https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/reconsideration-request-15-1... [PDF, 146 KB]), which shall be incorporated by reference here and deemed a part of this Rationale and is attached as Exhibit C to the Reference Materials to the Board Paper on this matter.

Adopting the BGC's recommendation has no direct financial impact on ICANN and will not impact the security, stability and resiliency of the domain name system.

This decision is an Organizational Administrative Function that does not require public comment.

1 Article IV, Section 2 of the .CAT, .TRAVEL, and .PRO registry agreements provide that the agreements shall be renewed upon the expiration of the initial term for successive terms, unless the following has occurred:

an arbitrator or court has determined that Registry has been in fundamental and material breach of Registry's obligations set forth in Sections 3.1(a), (b), (d) or (e); Section 5.2 or Section 7.3 despite notice and an opportunity to cure in accordance with Article VI hereof and (ii) following the final decision of such arbitrator or court, Registry has failed to correct the conduct found to constitute such breach.…

.CAT Registry Agreement, available at https://www.icann.org/resources/unthemed-pages/cat-agreement-2005-09-23-en; .TRAVEL Registry Agreement, available at https://www.icann.org/resources/unthemed-pages/travel-agreement-2006-04-... .PRO Registry Agreement, available at https://www.icann.org/resources/unthemed-pages/pro-agreement-2010-04-22-en.