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Update on Proposals for Trade Mark Protection in the new gTLD System
The implementation of the new gTLD System appears imminent. The latest version of the much commented upon applicant guidebook (“Final Applicant Guidebook”) setting out the framework for the new system, including for resolution of disputes, was issued by ICANN on 12 November, 2010.
At its December meeting, ICANN resolved that its staff would revise the Final Applicant Guidebook based on comments already received during the public comment period and would synthesize the results of consultations and comments by other groups to enable the Board to make a decision on the launch of the new gTLD programme as soon as possible. This is in spite of the detailed critique and the plethora of substantive issues raised by a number of parties, in particular relating to trade mark protection issues. There are real concerns about the proposed “Trademark Clearing House”, the proposed “Uniform Rapid Suspension System” and the overall structure and lengthy procedures anticipated by this version of the guidebook as summarised in the WIPO Arbitration and Mediation Centre’s letter to ICANN of 2 December, 2010 which is currently posted on WIPO’s website and can be found here.
Despite the range of issues raised, ICANN appears to have decided not to undertake further public consultation and it looks likely at this stage that the system finally implemented will be substantially based on the final Applicant Guidebook. According to some commentators this means that the implementation of the new gTLD system could occur as early as the second quarter of 2011.