Brand owners are finally in the clear.
That is, in terms of signing new top-level domain Registry Agreements with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The remaining kinks of an amendment designed to consider the specific trademark needs of brands have been settled
The final fix? Brand owners may now designate three ICANN-accredited registrars to serve as the exclusive registrars for their .BRAND top-level domain, according to a blog entry posted by ICANN Vice President, Domain Name Services Cyrus Namazi.
Namazi announced that the language of the amendment – Specification 13 – is now available for qualifying .BRANDs in full.
ICANN’s new generic top-level domain (gTLD) Program Committee (NGPC) approved the long-sought and much-discussed Specification 13 on March 26. But the three-registrar provision raised a potential conflict with another policy devised by the Generic Name Supporting Organization (GNSO) that prohibits discrimination against any accredited registrar.
GNSO – the policy-making arm of ICANN for gTLDs – could have objected to the three-registrar provision. But it chose not to after considering the unique business case of .BRANDs and public comments submitted on the proposed Specification 13. Since registration is limited in a .BRAND, brands prefer to use a limited number of designated registrars. Specification 13 will now explicitly allow brands to do so.
As we’ve noted before, the incorporation of the entirety of Specification 13 into the Registry Agreement is beneficial for .BRAND applicants. For example, in addressing some of brand owners’ collective concerns with the new gTLD Registry Agreement, the approval of Specification 13 will allow .BRAND applicants to move through the contracting and delegation processes and launch with greater speed.
And that could speed consumer adoption of new gTLDs, 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.