Protecting the Rights of Others wg charter

Last Updated: 31 August 2009
Date: 
15 March 2007

"Protecting the Rights of Others" Working Group (PRO-wg) Charter

approved by the GNSO Council at the meeting on 15 March 2007

Working Group on Mechanisms to protect legal rights of others

Background

There is a new gTLD committee of the GNSO that is developing policy recommendations with respect to the introduction of new gTLDs. In addition to policy recommendations, the committee is also considering
guidelines that may assist the ICANN staff in preparing an application process, and also creating a framework agreement for registry operators.

The current registrar accreditation agreement requires that Registered Name Holders represent that, to the best of the Registered Name Holder's knowledge and belief, neither the registration of the Registered Name, nor the manner in which it is directly or indirectly used, infringes the legal rights of any third party. ICANN also has a Consensus Policy called the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) that is intended for resolving disputes between the registrant and any third party over the registration and use of an Internet domain name.

In past new gTLD rounds, applicants for new gTLDs have been required to implement measures that discourage registration of domain names that infringe intellectual property rights; reserve specific names to prevent inappropriate name registrations; minimize abusive registrations; comply with applicable trademark and anti-cybersquatting legislation; and provide protections (other than exceptions that may be applicable during the start-up period) for famous name and trademark owners. There have been a range of approaches used which vary in terms of both cost to registrants and third parties affected by registration, and effectiveness.

As part of the new gTLD committee's deliberations, there has been some discussion about what additional protections beyond the current terms in the registration agreement and existing dispute resolution mechanisms
should be in place to the protect the legal rights of others during the domain name registration process, particularly during the initial start up of a new gTLD where there is contention for what Registrants perceive
as the "best" names.

Purpose:

The purpose of the working group is to:

(1) Document the additional protections implemented by existing gTLD operators beyond the current terms in the registration agreement and existing dispute resolution mechanisms to the protect the legal rights of others during the domain name registration process, particularly during the initial start up of a new gTLD where there is contention for what Registrants perceive as the "best" names. The documentation should identify the problems that the protections were intended to solve. The working group should establish definitions of terms used in this document to ensure a common understanding amongst members of the working group. These definitions would only be in the context of the document, and without prejudice to the meaning of these terms in other legal contexts.

(2) Determine whether to recommend to Council a best practices approach to providing any additional protections beyond the current registration agreement and UDRP policy for the legal rights of others during the
domain name registration process, particularly during the initial start up of a new gTLD where there is contention for what Registrants perceive as the "best" names. A best practices document could be incorporated into the material for the application process for new gTLD applicants. The GNSO could elect in future to use the policy development process (PDP) to create a Consensus Policy in this area.

Suggested Outline of Working Group Work Plan

I. Analyze Existing Rights Protection Mechanisms

A. Identify relevant existing TLDs (not limited to gTLDs)

B. Identify both issues that existing preventive mechanisms are designed to solve and new issues that may have developed

C. Describe existing rights protection mechanisms

1. Eligibility

2. Rights bases or requirements

3. Submission process and costs of submission

4. Review of applications

5. Challenge mechanism and cost of mechanism

D. Issues arising out of or related to the existing rights protection mechanisms

1. Eligibility

2. Rights bases or requirements

3. Review of applications

4. Allocation

E. Analyze Quantitative Effectiveness - relation between preventing the dispute and resolving the dispute

1. Define quantitative effectiveness in light of the issues identified in I.B.

2. Number of preventive registrations, number of preventive registrations vs. overall number of registrations; proportion of registrations that are purely defensive

3. Number of challenges overall and in relation to number of registrations; challenger success rate

4. Evaluate quantitative success in light of the issues identified in I.B.

F. Analyze Qualitative Effectiveness

1. Define qualitative success and set forth criteria for any evaluation in light of issues identified in I.B.

2. Nature of use of names registered during start up period

3. Whether rights protection mechanism process protects rights in a cost-effective manner in light of issues identified in I.B.

4. Evaluate qualitative effectivess in light of issues identified in I.B.

G. Impact on registries and registrars

1. Resource allocation

a) Development of rights protection mechanism

b) Implementation of rights protection mechanism

2. Other considerations

H. Impact on other affect parties

II. Identify Commonalities and Variances among existing rights protection mechanisms, including the evaluation by affected parties.

A. Eligibility Commonalities and Variances

B. Procedural Commonalities and Variances

1. Submission

2. Review

3. Challenge

C. Level of Satisfaction

1. Prior Rights Owners

2. Registrars

3. Registries

4. Other Categories

III. Scalability of rights protection mechanisms

A. Feasibility

Conclusions derived from I and II above -- effectiveness; impact on registrars, registries, and other affected parties; concerns of IP owner and holders of other rights

B. Implementation Considerations

IV. Identify and Evaluate Alternative Mechanisms

A. Alternatives

B. Evaluation

Suggested Working Group Membership

The following list sets out initial ideas for experts that would provide useful contributions. The list is neither binding nor enumerative.

* Owners of globally famous brands from different regions.
* INTA Internet Committee member
* Rights protection mechanism dispute panelist
* Non-profit educational or charitable organization representative
* Registrars with experience in preventive rights protection mechanisms
* Registries with experience in preventive rights protection mechanisms
* Representative from EURid or PWC, EURid validation agent
* Commercial financial institution representative (because of concerns over consumer protection and concerns related to fishing and identity theft)
* IPC designee
* NCUC designee
* ISP designee
* BC designee
* WIPO representative (given WIPO's expertise in evaluating existing rights protection mechanisms)

1. Voting:

In general, the working group should operate using a rough consensus approach. Every effort should be made to arrive at positions that most or all of the group members are willing to support. "Straw poll voting" should be used to determine whether there is rough consensus on particular issues. In order to ensure that each constituency does not have to provide the same number of members, constituencies, regardless of number of representatives, can hold 3 votes, and each individual nominating committee councilor hold one vote. Liaisons are non voting.

2. Membership

The Working Group is open for membership to Councilors and to GNSO Constituency members; advisory committees (e.g., ALAC, GAC) may appoint non-voting liaisons to the working group. Members may be added by the constituencies and the Advisory groups at any time during the work of the WG. The ccNSO could be invited to have representatives participate as observers because there may be implications for the treatment of the two letter country codes, which are presently reserved at all levels. The WG may invite external experts as speakers or advisors (in the role of observer) that may be able to constructively contribute to the effort.

Every effort should be made to ensure that the working group include and consider the varying points of view on key issues. It is more important that all varying points of view are examined and reflected than for
every constituency or group to have representation or equal numbers of members. If this goal is achieved and recommendations are developed that have rough consensus of the group, then the full Council, with balanced representation from all constituencies and NomCom appointees, will then have opportunity to act.

Members should be selected who can commit sufficient time during the next three-four months to facilitate achievement of the targeted accomplishments describe in the next section (Working Timeline).

The Council will appoint an initial or interim chair [or co-chairs] and the Working Group should, at its initial meeting, elect or confirm the chair and co-chair(s).

3. Working Timeline

The Working Group is asked to convene at the earliest possible time and to achieve the following targets:
1. Progress report at least one week prior to the start of the Lisbon ICANN meetings (16 March 2007).
2. Final report at least one week prior to the April 2007 GNSO Council meeting.

Timeline:

The working group should conclude its work in time to provide a report for the GNSO Council meeting in April 2007