ICANN Approves .Buzz and .Ruhr to Launch in January, 2014

.Buzz and .Ruhr both plan Land Rush periods. .Ruhr is the first “Start Date” Sunrise, which means they have provided a 30-day announcement and then plan a first-come, first-served 30-day Sunrise period. This type of Sunrise will place some pressure on trademark owners.

ICANN has published the Start-up Plans for .Buzz and .Ruhr, with Sunrise Periods starting in the second half of January.

Both plan to have Land Rush periods.

.Ruhr is the first “Start Date” Sunrise, which means they have provided a 30-day announcement and then plan a first-come, first-served 30-day Sunrise period. This TLD will place some pressure on trademark owners who might have competing trademark owners vying for the same name.

EnCirca now lists 47 Sunrise Periods on its website.

No more Start-up announcements are expected until January 6, 2014.

New gTLDs at EnCirca

EnCirca Certified to Process New gTLDs. One of First ICANN Registrars to Pass Certification

EnCirca announced today that it received notice that it passed technical certification to process new gTLDs. Not all ICANN Registrars are allowed to resell these new extensions. They must first be certified by the trademark clearinghouse (TMCH) as being able to perform some essential processes for the Sunrise and Trademark Claims Periods. The new registries are not allowed to accept new registrations from an ICANN Registrar until they have been certified by ICANN.

EnCirca announced today that it received notice that it passed technical certification to process new gTLDs.

The Internet is about to witness a wave of several hundred new top-level extensions, such as .BUZZ, .CLUB and .UNO. The public will be able to register these via a certified ICANN Accredited Registrar.

Not all ICANN Registrars are allowed to resell these new extensions. They must first sign a new ICANN Registrar Accreditation Agreement and be certified by the trademark clearinghouse (TMCH) as being able to perform some essential processes for the Sunrise and Trademark Claims Periods. The new registries are not allowed to accept new registrations from an ICANN Registrar until they have been certified by ICANN.

The first Sunrise Period is already underway for an Arabic string ‘شبكة.’ (.dotshabaka). Several more extensions have announced their intention to commence their Sunrise Periods in late November, including: .BIKE, .CLOTHING, .GURU, .HOLDINGS, .PLUMBING, .SINGLES and .VENTURES.

Contact EnCirca for more information about the Trademark Clearinghouse and applying during Sunrise Period.

“God help us all…”

This is the chat log from today’s ICANN Webinar on the TMCH. If you missed it, no worries…you didn’t miss anything.

Here is the chat log from today’s ICANN Webinar with IBM. The webinar was billed as
“The Sunrise portion of the Trademark Database Sunrise and Claims (S&C) services went live on 9 August 2013. This webinar will cover an introduction to the TMDB web client, a brief overview of the S&C processes and the TMDB system, and a brief overview of the TMDB test function.”

There were over 50 participants on the call, although many reported struggles with the IBM Meeting software.

The slides were essentially aimed at anyone who has been living under a rock the past few years. They gave a 10 minute update on what ICANN has been up to. Then the up-coming schedule of webinars was presented.

In short, I wasted 20 minutes of my day. Here is the chat log during the call

===

Tom Barrett to All 11:12 AM
I see a black box in the upper right of the slides. does anyone else see this?

James Gould to All 11:12 AM
Which audio is working, since audio is not working on my computer and the phone is playing music?

Tom Barrett to All 11:13 AM
@James, you need to install the plug-in and then re-enter the meeting

Craig Schwartz to All 11:13 AM
Yes, I see the black box too.

Sharon to All 11:13 AM
Yes – I see black box, too.

Tom Barrett to All 11:15 AM
That’s it?

Bret Fausett to All 11:16 AM
I hope the information behind the black box isn’t on the test.

Kelly to All 11:17 AM
Is anyone else using a mac struggling to install the java software?

Tom Barrett to All 11:17 AM
@Kelly, do’t worry…you did not miss anything

Francisco Obispo to All 11:17 AM
use firefox in mac

Kelly to All 11:17 AM
On firefox 22

James Gould to All 11:17 AM
Can you go through it again, since many did not see anything?

James Gould to All 11:18 AM
The conference bridge is still playing music for me.

Janet Fu to All 11:18 AM
I can’t hear anything

Ashley Roberts to All 11:18 AM
can you please explain how registries and registrars obtain their welcome packs and tokens for the TMDB system?

Bret Fausett to All 11:19 AM
I’m confused. I thought the subject was “This webinar will cover an introduction to the TMDB web client, a brief overview of the S&C processes and the TMDB system, and a brief overview of the TMDB test function.”

KP to All 11:19 AM
I can’t hear anything too.

Alex Mayrhofer to All 11:19 AM
I’m missing more information about the testing process and test function as well. Maybe IBM could advise which webinar would contain this information.

Bret Fausett to All 11:19 AM
wtf?

Bret Fausett to All 11:20 AM
That’s it?

April Forsyth to All 11:20 AM
Are they not reading these?

Alex Mayrhofer to All 11:20 AM
Seems like Chat is not considered???

Tom Barrett to All 11:20 AM
LOL

James Gould to All 11:20 AM
+1

Alex Mayrhofer to All 11:20 AM
Ok, that was very much useless … sorry…

Ashley Roberts to All 11:20 AM
I have a question above

Calvin to All 11:20 AM
its ended… lol

Bret Fausett to All 11:20 AM
God help us all having to implement something these people are putting together.

Alex Mayrhofer to All 11:20 AM
Pfffff…..

[I copied the chat log here…A few other people jumped on the chat before it was cut off by the moderators.]

Will the Trademark Clearinghouse Fulfill its Potential?

The Trademark Clearinghouse has enormous potential to support the domain name industry. The portability of the SMD files enables many uses that were not originally envisioned by its creators. Certainly, the days of a TLD manually checking trademark databases should be coming to an end with SMD files becoming the new de facto standard for trademark validation. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over time.

[Originally published on CircleID, May 1, 2013: see http://www.circleid.com/posts/20130501_will_the_trademark_clearinghouse_fulfill_its_potential/]

ICANN created the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) as a way to streamline the repetitive process forced on trademark owners during the launch of new top-level-domains. With the expected tsunami of hundreds of new TLD’s starting later this year, the TMCH should generate a clear benefit for trademark owners who elect to participate in Sunrise and Claims Periods.

The side effect of introducing new TLDs is that the legacy TLDs will be making changes to make sure they are competitive against the new TLDs. This means they will be relaxing restrictions and opening up unused namespaces at the second and third-levels. Many of these will follow a Sunrise or Grandfathering process as a way to implement the changes.

Already three existing TLDs (one sTLD and two ccTLDs) have announced such policy changes and decided they would like to utilize the TMCH Sunrise tokens for their Sunrise Period. This includes .Jobs, Radio.AM and Radio.FM. Donuts, the largest applicant with over 300 TLD applications, have also indicated they will use the Sunrise token from the TMCH for a universal blocking service called Domain Protected Marks List (DPML).

All this is happening before the TMCH has even supported its first new TLD. While ICANN has welcomed the use of TMCH by .Jobs, it remains to be seen if ICANN will also welcome use of the TMCH by ccTLDs.

The eventual benefits and viability of the TMCH will hinge on a few factors:
• Will trademark owners even use it?
• Will the main driver be participation in Sunrise or Claims?
• Will other existing TLDs want to use it?

Will Trademark Owners Even Use it?
It is a given that trying to participate in every future Sunrise Period would overwhelm the budgets of nearly every trademark owner. Every sage legal advisor is counseling that the trademark owner must be ultra-selective about which Sunrise Periods they engage in.

On the other hand, a review of the Trademark Agents published on the TMCH website show a good number of law firms have already advanced the TMCH the minimum $15000 required to be an Agent. If this trend continues, then it is a clear indicator that law firms will aggressively market the TMCH to their clients. (Disclosure: My firm, TM.Biz is offering a portal for these Trademark Agents).

Will the Main Driver Be Participation in Sunrise or Claims?
Trademark Claims provides some protection in every new TLD. But it is for exact matches only and only for the first 90 days. This forces trademark owners to also subscribe to a watching service that catch confusingly similar registrations not caught by the Claims service. I predict trademark owners will elect to do both Claims and watching to ensure they catch domains that might confuse their customers.

Will other existing TLDs want to use it?
There are actually two parts to the TMCH. The validation service is performed by Deloitte and CHIP. They are issuing Sunrise tokens called Signed-Mark-Data (SMD) files to trademark owners as proof that a trademark has satisfied the requirements for the typical Sunrise Period. The Database Administrator for the TMCH is IBM. They actually help Registries and Registrars operate the Sunrise and Trademark Claims Periods. The validation service initially launched on March 26. The database part is expected to launch in July.

But there are applications for just the TMCH Sunrise tokens that do not require IBM to be used. This is because the SMD file is portable. For example, any country-code TLD who decides to change their policies and wanted to conduct a Sunrise Period first, could accept SMD files from trademark owners.

Also, any TLD that wanted to accept SMD files for a new Rights Protection Mechanism, as Donuts is planning; also do not need IBM in the process.

The .Jobs Sunrise Period
The .Jobs TLD has decided to eliminate the current restriction that .Jobs domain names must match company names. This means that product and division names will be eligible for .Jobs. Before this change takes effect, .Jobs will first conduct the Sunrise Period that is designed for new TLDs. .Jobs will utilize both parts of the TMCH. Thus they need to wait for IBM, their Back-end Registry and Registrars all to be operational before they can conduct their Sunrise Period.

The Radio Global Domains
The .AM and .FM ccTLD’s, have long been re-purposed for the Radio industry. They are now introducing new namespaces, called Radio Global Domains, which are designed to target new market segments within the Radio industry. These will be radio.am and radio.fm. Before these changes take place, they will also undergo a Sunrise Period starting May 28. Validation for the Radio Global Domains Sunrise Period will be performed on either trademark data or the Sunrise tokens called Signed-Mark-Data (SMD) files issued by the TMCH. All this is happening without the need for the involvement of IBM, or even for Registrars to support the new protocols required for the new TLD Sunrise Periods. (Disclosure: My firm, TM.Biz will be handling the trademark validation, SMD validation and direct submission of Sunrise registrations to the Registry).

It is still an open issue whether the TMCH will be capable of issuing SMD files by May 28 for use by the Radio Global Domains. Or if the TMCH is capable of issuing SMD files by this date, whether ICANN will allow the TMCH to release the SMD files so that the ccTLDs can use them.

There are no doubt other ccTLDs that are interested in changing their registration rules and restrictions that might consider holding a Sunrise Period first. I predict that these ccTLDs would be interested in using the SMD files as well, if allowed by ICANN.

Additional Rights Protection Mechanisms
The largest TLD applicant, Donuts, is also planning to accept SMD files for its universal blocking service called Domain Protected Marks List, or DPML. As applicant of over 300 TLD’s, with half of those uncontested, a DPML represents a good value for trademark owners.

There may be other applicants that decide to offer new Rights Protection Mechanisms that utilize the SMD file.

Hopelessly Optimistic
The Trademark Clearinghouse has enormous potential to support the domain name industry. The portability of the SMD files enables many uses that were not originally envisioned by its creators. Certainly, the days of a TLD manually checking trademark databases should be coming to an end with SMD files becoming the new de facto standard for trademark validation. It will be interesting to see how this evolves over time.

CIRA, registry for Canada, wants one of Africa’s unused TLDs

CIRA, the Registry operator for the .CA ccTLD, is proposing to expand its mandate to the .EH, the currently unassigned ccTLD for Western Sahara.

CIRA, the Registry operator for the .CA ccTLD, is proposing to expand its mandate to the .EH, the currently unassigned ccTLD for Western Sahara.

Currently, IANA has no sponsoring organizations assigned to this domain. Western Sahara is a disputed territory, and as such it has no delegated country code top-level domain (ccTLD). .EH has been reserved for this purpose, and will be assigned if the competing claimants reach an agreement. Since the two logical applicants remain armed belligerents; the domain remains inactive.

Into this void steps CIRA to the rescue, vowing to put the .EH TLD to better use. More details here:
CIRA News

More from Wikipedia:
On October 16, 2007, ICANN decided not to delegate .eh at all, with the explanation that:

“there are currently two applicants for the delegation of the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) .EH (Western Sahara). Both requests meet the technical criteria for managing a top-level domain. In cases like this, IANA has a long-standing policy of requesting that the two contesting applicants work together to find a mutual solution that will serve the needs of the local Internet community in the best possible fashion. ICANN does not see a way to approve the .EH ccTLD delegation to one of the applicants without violating its long-standing policy unless the contesting parties are able to reach an agreement.”

Verisign report addresses risks with ICANN’s execution of new gTLDs

A report issued today by Verisign Research Labs says that ICANN is rushing the launch of new gTLDs without allowing time for changes to stabilize, thereby adding risk to the security and stability of the internet

Verisign issued a report today entitled “NEW GTLD SECURITY AND STABILITY CONSIDERATIONS” that calls out deficiencies in ICANN’s plans to launch new TLDs. A copy of the report has been sent to ICANN with a cover letter.

The conclusion of the report says:

“Addressing these issues doesn’t simply mean publishing a specification and expecting the community to have immediately implemented it and be capable of responding to all operational and security corner cases conveyed therein. It means working with the community in attempts to identify these issues before problems arise in operational systems.

It also means that adequate buffers should exist in ICANN published timelines that account for implementation, internal testing, security auditing and vulnerability testing, pilots and early field trials, and deliberate transition to operations;

it’s apparent little consideration has been given to this in the current timelines published by ICANN. In order to ensure a successful implementation of each new gTLD, it is essential that proper planning be conducted in advance. This entails the development of a project plan (to include: a detailed schedule, communications plan, risk management plan, and deployment plan) for each new gTLD to be implemented. These plans should align with ICANNs timelines, thus minimizing impacts to current registry operations, as well as the overall DNS and broader Internet ecosystem.

Any party concerned with consumer and operator privacy, trust, confidence, and overall security of new gTLDs and the broader Internet would be well served by the ICANN Board addressing these issues as appropriate before delegating any new gTLDs, as the risk of a misstep in this direction could have far-reaching and long-lasting residual implications.”

The report, labeled “Verisign Labs Technical Report # 1130007 version 2.2”, does not list who wrote the report.

While focusing on risks associated with “Operational Readiness for gTLD Registries”, it is silent on the risks associated with operational readiness for gTLD Registrars.

The list of major issues include:

A. Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH)
B. Pre-Delegation Testing (PDT)
C. Emergency Back End Registry Operator (EBERO)
D. Escrow
E. Zone File Access
F. SLA Monitoring
G. WhoIs Change Requirements
H. Government Advisory Council (GAC) Advice

The full report can read here:
Verisign Research Report

Verisign letter to ICANN
Verisign letter to ICANN

ICANN expands trademark claims

ICANN has expanded protection for trademark claims for new TLD’s to include up to 50 confusingly similar strings that have been part of a successful UDRP.

No word yet when the trademark clearinghouse will be prepared to accept these or what the supporting documentation will be.

We assume that extra TMCH charges will apply, as the application price covers up to 10 domain names.

Other additions include:

– extension of trademark claims from 60 to 90 days

– a required 30-day notice before the commencement of any Sunrise period

Blogged by Domain Incite

ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse Launches March 26. But There Is Time Before the First Sunrise.

ICANN has announced that the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will “launch” on March 26. But you have some time before the first Sunrise Period.

[Originally published on CircleID March 14, 2013]

ICANN has announced that the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will “launch” on March 26.

Brand Owners: Brace yourself. Soon every trademark law firm and corporate registrar will be screaming at you:

    – THE TRADEMARK CLEARINGHOUSE IS HERE!!!

    – YOU NEED TO BE READY TO SUBMIT ON MARCH 26!!!

    – DO YOU HAVE YOUR ACT TOGETHER YET???

Here are some tips for brand owners to consider about ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse:

1. Relax.
Relax. This is advice probably no one is telling you. The truth is: you have some time before the first Sunrise Period.

Yes, you should be thinking about your overall brand protection strategy regarding new TLD’s now.

Yes, you should be checking and updating inaccuracies on your trademark records at the local Patent & Trademark Office now.

Yes, you should be compiling your documentation required for the TMCH now. This includes: Licensee and Assignee agreements, copies of trademark registrations for those countries that the TMCH will not be validating via an online database and your proof of use specimens.

But you have some time before the first Sunrise Period.

How much time do you have?

The first Sunrise is not likely to occur until summer or fall. The technical specifications for Sunrise were just released this week for public comment. Without a final spec., Registries and Registrars have not yet started programming their systems to support Sunrise and Claims.

This gives you several months before any new TLD’s launch. ICANN may try to push out the first Sunrise in June. But if so, it is likely to be a long extended Sunrise Period to allow for the on-boarding of Registrars and the slow summer holidays.

Our suggestion? Don’t act in haste or fold to high-pressure sales tactics from whoever wants your TMCH business. The Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA) is in early May. Attend INTA and discuss the TMCH with your colleagues. Visit the exhibitors offering TMCH services (We will be there). You will then have at least another month or two before the first TLD Sunrise launches.

There are no prizes for being first. The TMCH is offering an “incentive” for early filers, but the benefit is minimal. The offer is that if you apply early, then your anniversary date for renewals will be based on when the first TLD launches, as opposed to when you submitted your trademark to the TMCH. However, this may not be beneficial unless you plan to participate in that first Sunrise, which has not yet been announced. It could be an IDN. Why not give the TMCH some time to work out the kinks before submitting your trademarks?

2. Should you go direct or through a Trademark Agent?
The TMCH will allow trademark owners to submit trademarks directly or through an authorized Trademark Agent. The authorized Trademark Agent can be an ICANN Registrar or Law Firm, but it does not need to be. Just be sure to select a Trademark Agent with extensive experience dealing with ICANN Sunrise Periods and a thorough understanding of how the TMCH will conduct its validation processes.

Our suggestion is to wait until the INTA Annual Meeting and learn more about what your options are. To evaluate possible Trademark Agents, here are some areas to consider:

Flexible payment options
• The TMCH requires pre-payment for all submissions. The pre-payment can either be a credit card, with a maximum of 10 trademarks per order, or a $15,000 bank wire

• In comparison, a Trademark Agent will likely extend you credit to enable post-payment

One chance to make corrections
• Deloitte, the TMCH validator, will be strict about your TMCH application matching the official trademark application. You get only one chance to get your application correct before paying an extra fee.

• Pre-validation is a critical step you should take before submitting to the TMCH. If you are not equipped to do this yourself, find someone who will do it for you

Sunrise management
• ICANN expects to eventually be approving new TLD’s at a rate of 20 per week. Who will keep track of the new Sunrise Periods you actually care about?

• After your trademark is deemed eligible for Sunrise by the TMCH, you will receive a token called the Signed-Mark-Data (SMD) file. This has to be passed to each and every registrar you might use for a Sunrise period

Bulk management
• If you have a lot of trademarks to submit to the TMCH, then entering them manually will cost time, money and get tedious fast.

• Trademark Agents using the TMCH programming interface (API) will be able to manage TMCH records in bulk

Portability beyond the TMCH
• At least one major TLD applicant, Donuts, has announced its own trademark blocking service for its TLD’s. Called the Domain Marks Protected List (DPML), this block will protect your trademark in all of the Donuts TLD’s. They’ve applied for over 300 TLD’s with half of those uncontested. The DPML is not sold by the TMCH but will require that trademark owners first be validated for Sunrise eligibility by the TMCH

Who will manage these non-TMCH Rights Protection Mechanisms for you?

Summary
I hope these tips help remove some of the anxiety some trademark owners might have about the March 26 launch of the Trademark Clearinghouse. The key point is that this is not a race. You have plenty of time to get your trademarks in the TMCH before the first Sunrise Period.

EnCirca has participated in nearly every Sunrise Period conducted by an ICANN TLD. We also offer real-time trademark validation services for TLD’s via our TM.Biz subsidiary: We recently provided such services for the .PW and .XXX Sunrise Periods. And TM.Biz will be offering TMCH pre-validation services for Brand Owners, Trademark Agents and Registrars as well.

Attending ICANN-Beijing? Leave your laptop at home

Cyber-security expert advises visitors to China to sleep with their laptop under their pillow.

Weeks ago, someone told me they were going to bring a “loaner” laptop to the ICANN meeting in Beijing, China.

I laughed it off.

But this article has given me pause. What do laptops cost nowadays anyway? $400… I could give it to one of kids when I get back, (after a thorough cyber-scrubbing of course)

Read on:

When in China, don’t leave your laptop alone

How the Registrar Cash Flow Model Could Collapse with New ICANN gTLDs

The cash flow challenge for Registrars is going to EXPLODE with the addition of over 1,000 new TLDs. So much so, that it may become a major factor for a Registrar deciding whether to support a new TLD. How the new TLD’s back-end provider handles Registrar cash flow could have a significant impact on the viability of a single TLD.

An important talk every TLD applicant should have with their back-end provider.

New top-level domain applicants are getting plenty of advice nowadays about how to launch their new Registry. In addition to thinking about their branding and distribution, they should also be thinking about their business practices with Registrars.

What many of them do not realize is that their cash flow practices, with respect to Registrars, may be a factor of whether ICANN Registrars even support their Registry.

The typical cash flow model today for TLDs is that the ICANN Registrar needs to pre-fund an account at the Registry before processing registrations. When the Registrar uses up their pre-funding, they need to send more money to the Registry. Every Registrar monitors their existing Registry balances and estimates future transactions in order to decide when to send more funds to each Registry.

This model has worked fine for the first decade of ICANN. But it is going to collapse with the introduction of hundreds of new gTLDs. To read the full article, please visit CircleID