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Community Support Required for Alternative Trademark Clearinghouse Solution

Chris Wright

It's time for the community to demonstrate its resolve to see ICANN implement a successful and effective Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).

Let's be clear here. The current ICANN implementation model and approach is flawed and needs attention.

Following more than three months of consultation and negotiation, today I'm pleased to be able to present the domain name and trademark protection industries with an alternative solution for the operation of ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse for the new Top-Level Domain (TLD) program.

ARI Registry Services — working in consultation with Neustar, Verisign and Demand Media — have developed three white papers for public review and comment.

The white papers outline concerns with ICANN's current TMCH proposal and provide an alternative model that addresses those concerns whilst meeting all the requirements outlined in the Applicant Guidebook and those further stipulated by ICANN.

The white papers can be downloaded here:

  1. TMCH - Issues with the ICANN Proposed Model
  2. TMCH - Proposed Claims Model
  3. TMCH - Proposed Sunrise Model

I urge you to please read these documents and express your support.

We need your support

The approach outlined in the white papers above offer significant advantages for both trademark owners and new TLD registries. It is our concern that ICANN is simply stubbornly sticking with its original proposal for the TMCH, even in the face of justified consistent criticism from the community.

We are now seeking action from the community on two fronts:

  • Public feedback on the documents, especially from rights holders, to help us further refine the solution to meet the needs of all; and
  • Support for this alternative proposal to demonstrate to ICANN that there is a consensus for change.

I encourage everyone involved or interested in the new TLD program to review the white papers and voice your opinion on the matter to ICANN. We anticipate ICANN will publish these documents on their website in the near future to facilitate community discussion. You can express your support by communicating with ICANN through public comments, and through your relevant constituencies and stakeholder groups. There will also be significant opportunity to give feedback to ICANN during the upcoming ICANN meeting in Toronto where there are two sessions on the agenda dedicated to the TMCH.

Why is the Trademark Clearinghouse important?

The TMCH is a crucial element of the new TLD program and it will impact everyone involved in the registration and operation of new TLD domain names. We can't afford to get this wrong.

The TMCH is a central database of verified trademark holders designed to provide enhanced rights protection mechanisms for the registration of domain names.

Put simply, the aim of the TMCH is to minimise burdens on trademark owners by allowing them to deposit their trademark data with one centralised source, rather than with each new TLD registry. The idea is for new TLD registries to cross-check domain name registrations with the centralised data from the Clearinghouse.

What's wrong with ICANN's TMCH proposal?

There has been considerable opposition to ICANN's proposal for the TMCH because it is too complex and burdensome in the way it achieves the objectives.

As described in the white papers above, there are significant privacy and security concerns with ICANN's current model. There are also disadvantages in ICANN's model which prevent registries using trademark data during sunrise periods to, for example, restrict eligibility to certain classes of rights holders.

The white papers outline how ICANN can improve its model to implement a more efficient and effective system.

This cannot be a case of "we have already gone so far and don't want to change". The current approach is broken and requires review.

With your help we can help ICANN see reason here and consider the alternatives.

Let's get mobilized and address this important issue.

By Chris Wright, Chief Technology Officer at ARI Registry Services. More blog posts from Chris Wright can also be read here.

Related topics: Domain Names, Registry Services, ICANN, Internet Governance, Policy & Regulation, Top-Level Domains

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