After two days of positivity in Durban, the doom-mongers have at last got something to get their teeth into. The ICANN meeting started with some positive noises about the GAC advice and then stepped up a notch with the very public signing of the Registry Agreements by Donuts amongst others. Then came the news that ICANN could be ready to delegate the first name within the next six weeks, bringing reality to the dream of a new dawn of the internet.
But on Tuesday this week, came a fly in the ointment. A very big fly in the shape of the readiness of the Trademark Clearinghouse. It seems that the extended service that ICANN Deloitte and IBM announced, they would be able to offer in response, to the original “Straw man” proposal, may not be ready in time to meet ICANN’s new delegation time lines. The irony of the news has not been lost by many cynics. The fact that finally ICANN have their house in order only to be standing waiting for external parties to get their bit ready is frustrating to say the least.
The issue relates to the Trademark+50 clause in the rights protection mechanism. Trademark+50 is the system approved by ICANN earlier this year that will trigger Claims notices for up to 50 strings trademark owners have filed their marks, and have won through a UDRP case.
Today in Durban, IBM and Deloitte said in a joint conference that they hope to be ready for registry testing by the end of July, with a expected live date of 9 August 2013, and Claims following a month later. They chose their words very carefully when they said these were hopes, not commitments.
Of course there are still many hurdles to jump before the race for the deletion of the first gTLD is over. History has shown us that trademark Sunrise periods are always problematic, but the whole gTLD program gives all parties over 1,000 opportunities to get it right.
I am sure this won’t be the last we hear of this issue in the next few days.
Stuart Fuller, Director of Commercial Operations and Communications