On December 6, 2013, ICANN posted for public comment a proposal requested by the Brand Registry Group to incorporate a new Specification 13 to the new gTLD Registry Agreement, which would be available to a registry operator that operates a top-level domain (TLD) that ICANN determines qualifies as a “.brand TLD.” Specification 13, otherwise known as the “.brand Addendum,” would be added to the standard Registry Agreement that was finalized and approved by the ICANN Board of Directors in July 2013.
The proposed Specification 13 is the result of months of negotiation between the Brand Registry Group—for which Katten’s Internet group served as special advisor—and ICANN counsel. The purpose of Specification 13 is to amend the Registry Agreement to reflect the unique business model of a closed, .brand registry. Essentially, the proposed changes will allow trademark owners who have applied for new TLDs that consist of their brand to operate their TLD with some flexibility, while allowing them to use trusted service partners and avoid the confusion that would be caused by the immediate re-delegation of their branded TLD to a third party.
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