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New Internet Domain Names

New Internet Domain Names

05/09/08

ICANN, the authority which governs generic top level domain names (gTLDs) such as ".com", ".org" and ".net" is proposing to implement a revised process from that which has been followed in the past for the creation of new gTLDs or "strings". ICANN produced an implementation model earlier this year which is currently undergoing the consultation stage. If approved, applicants (who will be those parties responsible for operating the TLD concerned and keeping a register) will be subject to this process.

The main features of the model currently include:

-  an Initial Evaluation by an Examiner who will also consider string confusion with existing TLDs or reserved names in addition to technical stability checks. Examples of strings that could cause confusion include “.C0M” (using a zero) and .COM, or “.1NFO” (using the number one) and .INFO

-  provision for appeal (Extended Evaluation) for applicants that do not pass Initial Evaluation to enable Examiner's concerns to be addressed

-  an objection period so that interested parties can lodge objections on specific limited grounds (string confusion, existing legal rights, morality and public order, group/community objections)

-  dispute resolution in the event of objections

-  consolidation of proceedings if more than one objection is filed on the same grounds

-  auctions as a tie-breaking mechanism in applications for the same "or very similar" names

Subject to the outcome of the consultation, the new procedure is expected to be launched in the first half of 2009.