ICANN’s new generic top-level domain (gTLD) Program Committee (NGPC) has finally approved the long-sought and much-discussed Specification 13 – an amendment to the Registry Agreement that accommodates the special trademark needs of brands applying for their own top-level domains.
FairWinds staff on the ground at ICANN 49 in Singapore confirmed the news early Wednesday – to the relief of many corporate and non-profit applicants.
Earlier this month, ICANN Vice President of DNS Industry Engagement Cyrus Namazi published a revised version of the Specification 13 Base Agreement and explained, in an accompanying blog, that “If approved by NGPC, Specification 13 would provide limited accommodations to registry operators of TLDs that qualify as ‘.Brand TLDs.’”
While the number of accommodations may be “limited”, the significance of the revisions to brands that have invested so much time and money into their applications is not.
The incorporation of Specification 13 into the Registry Agreement for .BRAND applications will benefit them as well as consumers. In addressing some of brand owners’ collective concerns with the new gTLD Registry Agreement, Specification 13 will allow .BRAND applicants to move through the contracting process and transition to delegation with greater speed and ease.
And, given the broad consumer base and digital presence of many brand applicants, and the benefits the .BRAND gTLD model presents for improved online security and consumer trust, the incorporation of Specification 13 could speed consumer adoption of new gTLDs.
“FairWinds is grateful to the ICANN staff for its work on this issue, and to the NGPC for reaching an agreement to take into consideration the special circumstances of .BRAND applicants – a group that comprises almost one-third of all new gTLD applicants,” said Vice President for Consulting Services Samantha Demetriou.
Demetriou also acknowledged the critical role played by FairWinds policy experts Lillian Fosteris and Stephanie Duchesneau in recognizing the unique contractual needs of .BRANDs and working to ensure they were incorporated into the base contract.
Much work remains, however, to get .BRANDs over the finish line: The timeline for new gTLD applicants remains tight, and a formal process for requesting the inclusion of Specification 13 has not been announced.
For more information about the next steps for .BRAND applicants, continue to follow this blog or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can receive timely and specific consulting guidance as a client of FairWinds.