The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently concluded its first public meeting of 2015, held February 8–12 in Singapore. Now that the meeting has concluded, Katten's Internet practice has prepared a summary of the following key takeaways, covering a wide variety of important topics relevant to both brand owners and new generic top-level domain (gTLD) applicants, including: two-character names and geographic names; Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) stewardship transition issues and accountability mechanisms; issues related to WHOIS and registrant data directory systems; contractual compliance transparency, including feedback on abusive registry practices and rights protection mechanism reviews; and registry agreement negotiations. We provide our full review and analysis of each of these subjects below.
1. Two-Character Names and Geographic Names -
Discussions surrounding two-character names and geographic names again commanded significant community attention during ICANN 52 in Singapore. With respect to two-character names, just prior to the Singapore meeting, ICANN staff placed an unjustified moratorium on the previously approved streamlined Registry Services Evaluation Procedure (RSEP) for registries to request release of "Letter/Letter" two-character second-level domains (SLDs) (including potential two-letter "country codes" such as IT (Italy); MY (Malaysia); and IN (India)) as a result of a January 26, 2015, letter from the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) chair raising certain GAC members' objections to the current process.
Please see full Advisory below for more information.