ICANN 44th meeting in Prague : summary of the burning issues, nomination of the new CEO, batching system given away, the URS under the spotlights

If one has to give a bird eye’s view of last ICANN meeting it should keep in mind that it was change which leads the way. We cannot but welcome the nomination of the new CEO, Fadi Chehadé, former engineer for the Bell Labs, IBM and Vocado LLC recently, who will occupy his new position on the 1st of October 2012 just two weeks before the Toronto meeting of the ICANN (from the 14 to the 19 of October). The challenge is high for the new CEO who will at the same time have to cope with the launch of the new gTLD’s and governance problems which permeates the ICANN.

The stakes which were dealt during the meeting can be epitomized as follows:

-The batching vanishes away:

While the Prague meeting was beginning, the batching system and its digital archery was suspended by the ICANN. Highly criticized before its implementation and at its early beginnings, 10 days before the close of the system the candidates faced a real vacuum. For your information, only 20% of the applicants shoot in the target and entered a timestamp. Alternatives were on the table and the final decision was to put an end to the batching system. A real earthquake to say the least, nonetheless, two paths are now on the table:

  1. The simultaneous treatment of all of the candidatures within a period of 15 months,
  2. A treatment of the candidatures in three batches, 5 months for each batches.

Another question lies in the backdoor, those of the release of the candidatures once evaluated:

-the publication can be done in batches, each time a batch is done the release can be completed. However, this system can be unfair, as first applicants will benefit from their early publication;

-the publication of all candidatures evaluated simultaneously, this solution can be deemed to be fair but can postpone the timeframe.

A delay to be foreseen for the intervention of the GAC:

The GAC announced that it will not make Early Warnings before the next ICANN meeting in Toronto in October 2012. Moreover, the GAC will not give any advice on contentious applications before the Asia-Pacific meeting which will be hold in April 2013!

Trademark Clearinghouse on the rails for October 2012:

The Trademark Clearinghouse, the repository for rights owners run by Deloitte and IBM will open its gates in October 2012 as announced. Tests are to be conducted as early as July 2012 for a suitable implementation next Fall.

The URS (Uniform Rapid Suspension System): cost to be reevaluated and service providers still lacking:

At the inception the creation of the URS was suppose to meet several ends among them flexibility, low-costs and protection of registrant with a legitimate interest. However, the target of the low-costs comprised between 300 and 500$ sounds quite tricky and impossible to reach in practice. During the ICANN meeting in Prague, a conference tackled the issue of the costs which are likely to be reevaluated. The idea came up that if needed, subventions can help to administer the service. The URS is a post-delegation procedure which can be used by third parties once the new gLTD’s will be attributed but which cannot lead to a cancellation or a transfer of the domain name, the domain name is just blocked. The service providers are scarce given the low-cost of the procedure which does not help to provide a sufficient background to issue tailored decisions.

Objection mechanisms: service providers in the starting-blocks:


The ICC has jurisdiction over the Limited Public Interest Objections and the Community Objection, the WIPO over the Legal Rights Objection, for which Nathalie Dreyfus has been appointed as a Panelist, and the ICDR for the String Confusion, all the service providers are ready. It is already possible to file an objection since June 13, 2012 where new gTLD’s candidatures were released. All the objectors must note that they have nearly seven months, without cap, to file an objection. Nonetheless, the decisions of the service providers will be issued only two weeks after the release of the Initial Evaluation which is due to take place in December 2012/January 2013.

A rainy sky overhangs the new gTLD’s launch. Notwithstanding, several paths remain to speed up the process, lobbying occurs as one of these. The newly created New TLD Applicant Group (NATG) is a group which emerged during the ICANN meeting, and which deserves to be glanced at.