For more than a year ICA has been asking ICANN when it will commence with the task of implementing the Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) policy for the new gTLD program as it currently stands in the Applicant Guidebook (AG). The URS is a required rights protection mechanism (RPM) that must be in place before any new gTLDs can open, and the current model balances trademark holder and registrant rights and is the result of a laborious two-year process resulting in recommendations that were unanimously adopted by the GNSO Council and subsequently by the ICANN Board. Each of our inquiries about the commencement of URS implementation have received the same general response of “soon”, but no perceptible progress had been made since the new gTLD program launched in the spring of 2011.
We have just learned that ICANN senior executive Kurt Pritz has sent a publicly available e-mail to GNSO Council Chairman Stephane Van Gelder advising him that URS implementation will finally begin in earnest within a few weeks. That exchange is below, and here are our key take-aways:
All in all, these are overdue but overall positive developments. Again, it’s our belief that any substantial alteration of the URS based on cost goals should not even be considered until we have some accurate, market-tested idea of the cost of implementing the current model — and that does not yet exist. Even then, we are wary of reopening this carefully constructed RPM because some of the ideas floating around for reducing cost could substantially reduce registrant rights in new gTLDs and convert the URS from a narrow supplement to the UDRP into a cut-price, rights-gutting alternative to it. That’s an unacceptable bait-and-switch.
But ICANN’s recognition of the central role to be played by the GNSO Council in considering any alteration is positive. It is critically important that whatever is done on URS implementation get off to a sound launch in Toronto, because there is an unusually long half-year gap between it and the next, April 2013 ICANN meeting in Beijing. A botched process could lead to further pushback in the launch date for new gTLDs, while one that results in evisceration of registrant rights could fatally undermine their prospects for success.
The e-mail exchange follows:
From:firstname.lastname@example.org[mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Stéphane Van Gelder
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 5:08 AM
To: Kurt Pritz
Cc: GNSO Council List
Subject: [council] Re: Uniform Rapid Suspension Discussion
Thanks Kurt. I am copying the Council for their information.
The Council will no doubt follow-up on this in the near future.
Stéphane Van Gelder
Directeur Général / General manager
INDOM NetNames France
Registry Relations and Strategy Director
T: +33 (0)1 48 01 83 51
F: +33 (0)1 48 01 83 61
Le 18 sept. 2012 à 22:09, Kurt Pritz a écrit :
I am writing to let you know that we are planning a set of discussions on Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS) implementation in the near future and seek the input of GNSO leadership. As you know, a meeting in Prague we indicated that URS, as currently designed, did not appear to meet cost requirements. In Prague, contributors in the meeting described briefly several potential solutions. In the next set of meetings, we want to flesh out some of those models for possible implementation. We want to have one meeting in about two weeks (probably a webinar type of format with a possibility for some face-to-face interaction), and then we have a meeting in Toronto is scheduled. The first meeting will be announced shortly.
I am writing you because some of the proposed solutions, while feasible, do not match up with the specific conclusions of the STI team when it did its work. We recognize the role of the GNSO in those discussions. While the meetings we are having are open to all, we understand that the GNSO leadership might want to conduct the URS discussions in a certain way. Having the twin goals of developing a solution in time for use by new gTLDs and ensuring that all those interested can participate in the discussion, we can work in whichever way the GNSO wishes to proceed. (Of course, we also seek to meet the cost and timeliness goals for which the URS was designed and also seek to ensure that registrants enjoy the protections written into the current model by the IRT and STI.)The output of the next meetings can inform GNSO discussion or we can carry on in a way acceptable to the GNSO.
I am also copying Olivier as ALAC members participated in the STI.
I hope you find this helpful. Contact me anytime with questions.