The Board passed a resolution to approve the latest version
of the Applicant Guidebook this morning by a majority of 13 to
one with two abstentions.
The decision will allow the creation of new top-level
domains for generic terms such as .music, or .shop, interest
groups such as .eco and .green, geographic regions and cities
such as .Berlin and .NewYork and brand owners such as .Canon,
.Hitachi and .Deloitte.
The Board rejected the advice of the Government Advisory
Committee (GAC) at a meeting last night to remove a request for
trade mark owners to show use in order to take advantage of
certain protection mechanisms, including the Uniform Rapid
Suspension System (URS) and to make use of sunrise registration
The question of whether use should be required was the
subject of a long and at times bad-tempered discussion between
the GAC and Icann's Board on Sunday evening.
Applicants will have around 90 days - from January 12 to
April 12 of next year - to apply for the first round new gTLDs.
Icann has not yet announced when the second round will take
Icann will publish details of who has applied around two
weeks after the application period closes and will decide on
initial application results in November 2012.
Icann's Board also chose to reject the GAC request to change
the standard of evidence needed to take advantage of the URS
system from "clear and convincing" to "preponderance of the
members vote in Singapore
Although two key demands of trade mark owners were ignored,
Icann did make two minor concessions to the GAC's trade
First, the "loser pays" provision that forms part of the URS
system will now apply to registrants with 15 registrations,
reduced from 26.
Second the Board has introduced specific protection for
names belonging to the Red Cross and International Olympic
Committee in the form of a temporary block on registering TLDs
during the initial application round. This will stay in place
until the Generic Names Supporting Organisation and the GAC
"develop a policy based on the global public interest".
Rod Beckstrom said at a press conference today that the
extension of the deadline will allow for an extended campaign
to raise awareness of new gTLDs.
Icann has also come under pressure to do more to help
developing countries take part in the system.
Applications will cost $185,000, but Icann is considering a
discount of 76% for developing countries. It has also proposed
a "seed fund" of $2 million to help applicants that it hopes
will be matched by the private sector.
But the inadequacy of the provisions was the main reason
given by board member George Sadowsky for his decision to vote
against Icann's motion. He also said that it would affect
relations between the Board and the GAC.
"We need to launch this programme on the basis of strong and
shared agreement. We are not there in my opinion," he said.
Bruce Tonkin abstained, citing a conflict of interest
because he is employed by Melbourne IT, which could benefit
from the decision to launch new gTLDs.
Mike Silber also abstained, claiming that the fact that the
final version of the guidebook was thrashed out at midnight by
the Board after its meeting with the GAC, indicated that it was
not fully ready.
He added that the motion had been brought before the board
today "based on artificial and ego-driven deadlines" - an
apparent reference to the desire of Peter Dengate-Thrush, chair
of Icann's Board, to get the gTLD programme before his time as
chair ends this Friday.
According to the rules of Icann's board, an abstention
counts as a no vote.
The vote was described by board member Cherine Chalaby as
"the end of the beginning" and comes after a six-year process
that has involved seven revisions to the Applicant Guidebook
and over 100,000 submissions.
"Every aspect has been examined six ways from Sunday," said
Icann Board vice chair Steve Crocker.
"Strap yourself in. There will be a little bit of turbulence
along the way, but it will be quite an exciting ride"