New gTLDs: the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), first arbitration center chosen for the administration of the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS)

On February 20, 2013, ICANN just revealed that NAF will be the first center to operate the URS. The URS will deal with cybersquatting related to new gTLDs and will complement the current UDRP (Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy) while distinguishing itself by a faster and cheaper dispute resolution. The URS procedure will only lead to the suspension of the disputed domain name. No transfer or cancellation of the domain name will be available with this procedure.

The NAF has secured the first appointment by ICANN to administer the URS and made sure to be the first out of the starting block. Founded in 1986 and approved by ICANN, the NAF has authority to resolve domain name disputes and especially is handling nearly half of the UDRP procedure, the other half being done by WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization).

The nomination of NAF is therefore a further step in the program set for the imminent launch of the new gTLDs.

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé has just announced that ICANN is planning on recommending the first TLDs for delegation on April 23, 2013. At this stage, we don’t know which TLDs will be involved.

However, what is certain is that ICANN will be evaluating applicants in the order determined by the prioritization draw held in December 2012. It doesn’t mean that the new gTLDs will be operational at the end of April. In fact, after a TLD is recommended for delegation, the applicant must pass a technical test and then sign a Registry agreement with ICANN. It is only after full completion of these two steps that the new domain is added to the root zone. We could then see some new TLDs on the Internet in few months. In fact, the exact timeline is up to each applicant bearing in mind the sunrise period, which usually is a period of 30 days for trademark holders followed by a 60 days landrush period, after which registration is fully open to the public.