ICANN Releases Second Draft of New gTLD Applicant Guidebook

A second draft of ICANN’s new generic Top-Level Domains Applicant Guidebook has been released.

In addition to the Applicant Guidebook, ICANN has also published a Summary/Analysis of Public Comments.

Based upon our preliminary evaluation of these documents, it appears as though ICANN has amended and clarified several issues including:

  • The dispute resolution policy which will now allow for the submission of consolidated objections at the discretion of the Dispute Resolution Provider
  • The definition of ÷Community-Based gTLDs’ and ÷Open gTLDs’
  • The criteria used for comparative evaluation of ÷Community-Based’ applications
  • The refund schedule which proposes that 70% refund for applications withdrawn after their posting, 35% refund for applications withdrawn after the initial evaluation, and 20% for any application withdrawn after any later stage
  • Allowable channels of communication for technical support and exchanges of information with ICANN during the ÷Initial Evaluation’ and ÷Extended Evaluation’ periods
  • A comprehensive description of auction processes to resolve issues of string contention

ICANN has also proposed a significant reduction in ongoing ÷Registry “Level Fees from $75,000 per year to $25,000 per year.

Unfortunately, the Applicant Guidebook does not address many of the concerns voiced by corporations and governments such as:

  • Trademark protection
  • Security and stability
  • Malicious conduct
  • Demand and economic analysis

ICANN intends to meet with the intellectual property community to work through specific suggestions for addressing these issues in the next 6-8 weeks.

The Public Comment Period for the second draft Applicant Guidebook is now open and will run through April 13, 2009.

According to ICANN, the third draft of the Applicant Guidebook is expected to be released in Q3 2009, and the application round will begin no sooner than December 2009.

MarkMonitor will monitor these developments closely and will follow-up with more detailed analysis and recommendations.