29 Rights Protection Mechanisms

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.ECOBig Room Inc.doteco.orgView

Rights protection is a core responsibility of the TLD operator, and is supported by a fully-developed plan for rights protection that includes:
* Establishing mechanisms to prevent unqualified registrations (e.g., registrations made in violation of the registry’s eligibility restrictions or policies);
* Implementing a robust Sunrise program, utilizing the Trademark Clearinghouse, the services of one of ICANN’s approved dispute resolution providers, a trademark validation agent, and drawing upon sunrise policies and rules used successfully in previous gTLD launches;
* Implementing a professional trademark claims program that utilizes the Trademark Clearinghouse, and drawing upon models of similar programs used successfully in previous TLD launches;
* Complying with the URS requirements;
* Complying with the UDRP;
* Complying with the PDDRP, and;
* Including all ICANN-mandated and independently developed rights protection mechanisms (“RPMs”) in the registry-registrar agreement entered into by ICANN-accredited registrars authorized to register names in the TLD.

The response below details the rights protection mechanisms at the launch of the TLD (Sunrise and Trademark Claims Service) which comply with rights protection policies (URS, UDRP, PDDRP, and other ICANN RPMs), outlines additional provisions made for rights protection, and provides the resourcing plans.

Safeguards for rights protection at the launch of the TLD

The launch of this TLD will include the operation of a trademark claims service according to the defined ICANN processes for checking a registration request and alerting trademark holders of potential rights infringement.

Sunrise period

The Registry will provide a fair opportunity for environmental community members to register for .ECO while also minimizing related costs to rights holders.

The Sunrise Period will last a minimum period of 1 month, prior to the opening of public registration, when trademark and service mark holders will be able to reserve marks that are an identical match in the .ECO domain. Following the Sunrise Period, Big Room will open registration to qualified applicants.

The first phase will run for a limited time period prior to the Land-rush and General Availability phases. In the past, Sunrise periods have been used in the launch of numerous TLDs including .INFO, .BIZ, .MOBI, .TEL, .ME, .XXX and others. These efforts have proven the need for a balanced approach that provides intellectual property (IP) holders, as well as an opportunity to register names they feel apply to their IP.

Big Room will hold a Sunrise period where holders of internationally recognized filed trademarks or possibly holders of existing (legacy) gTLD strings that are a perfect match to the .ECO string that they are applying for, will have the opportunity to apply for registration. A qualified third party must verify each trademark and⁄or legacy gTLD. In addition, the applicant must have a completed .ECO-profile and meet all criteria in order to be accepted as a community member. No application will be accepted without these verifications.

Big Room plans to use the Trademark Clearinghouse to asynchronously check Sunrise applications against registered trademarks. If the trademark is verified and valid, we expect to be able to inform the IP holder that a Sunrise application for their string has been submitted. IP holders are only involved if an application is submitted that is an exact match to their registered trademark.

An auction process will determine the awarding party in the event that there is more than one valid Sunrise application for a given string.

Community-priority & Platform names

Related to the sunrise phase is handling of specific types of names aimed at serving the community, including:

1. Premium Names, including those that could have added community value, in two categories:

A) Community-priority: Prior to launch, the Organization will approve a list of community-priority names. The Registry will, with Organization input, develop rules for a best-use plan competition. Names allocated in the competition will be donated to the winners. All community-priority names will be reviewed biennially by the Registry against their use-plans.

B) Auction-able: The Registry will also publish a list of names available for auction during sunrise. Funds generated from these names will be used to support the Registry.

2. Platform Names: The Registry will reserve a list of names that may be useful to the .ECO System, such as: industry sectors (eg, transportation); environmental issues (e.g. biodiversity); nouns with environmental significance (eg, water); and, other names deemed technically useful to the Registry’s implementation of .ECO as a community TLD (eg, Council).

Sunrise Period Requirements & Restrictions

Those wishing to reserve their marks in the .ECO domain during the Sunrise Period must own a current trademark or service mark listed in the Trademark Clearinghouse or submit evidence of a Trademark of national effect during the application process. Acceptable criteria for submitted Trademarks are modeled directly from the Trademark Clearinghouse guidelines:

“Nationally or regionally registered word marks from all jurisdictions.

- Any word mark that has been validated through a court of law or other judicial proceeding.
- Any word mark protected by a statute or treaty in effect at the time the mark is submitted to the Clearinghouse for inclusion.
- Other marks that constitute intellectual property.
- Protections afforded to trademark registrations do not extend to applications for registrations, marks within any opposition period or registered marks that were the subject of successful invalidation, cancellation or rectification proceedings.”

Notice will be provided to all trademark holders in the Clearinghouse if someone is seeking a Sunrise registration. This notice will be provided to holders of marks in the Clearinghouse that are an Identical Match (as defined in the Trademark Clearing House) to the name to be registered during Sunrise.

Each Sunrise registration will require a minimum term of five years.

Big Room will establish the following Sunrise eligibility requirements (SERs) as minimum requirements, verified by Clearinghouse data, and incorporate a Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy (SDRP). The SERs include: (i) ownership of a mark that satisfies the criteria set forth in section 7.2 of the Trademark Clearing House specifications, (ii) description of international class of goods or services covered by registration; (iii) representation that all provided information is true and correct; and (iv) provision of data sufficient to document rights in the trademark.

The SDRP will allow challenges based on the following four grounds: (i) at time the challenged domain name was registered, the registrants did not hold a trademark registration of national effect (or regional effect) or the trademark had not been court-validated or protected by statute or treaty; (ii) the domain name is not identical to the mark on which the registrant based its Sunrise registration; (iii) the trademark registration on which the registrant based its Sunrise registration is not of national effect (or regional effect) or the trademark had not been court-validated or protected by statute or treaty; or (iv) the trademark registration on which the domain name registrant based its Sunrise registration did not issue on or before the effective date of the Registry Agreement and was not applied for on or before ICANN announced the applications received.

Ongoing rights protection mechanisms

Several mechanisms will be in place to protect rights in this TLD. As described in our responses to questions #27 and #28, measures are in place to ensure domain transfers and updates are only initiated by the appropriate domain holder, and an experienced team is available to respond to legal actions by law enforcement or court orders.

This TLD will conform to all ICANN RPMs including URS (defined below), UDRP, PDDRP, and all measures defined in Specification 7 of the new TLD agreement.

Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS)

The registry operator will implement decisions rendered under the URS on an ongoing basis. Per the URS policy posted on ICANN’s Web site as of this writing, the registry operator will receive notice of URS actions from the ICANN-approved URS providers. These emails will be directed immediately to the registry operator’s support staff, which is on duty 24x7. The support staff will be responsible for creating a ticket for each case, and for executing the directives from the URS provider. All support staff will receive pertinent training.

As per ICANN’s URS guidelines, within 24 hours of receipt of the notice of complaint from the URS provider, the registry operator shall “lock” the domain, meaning the registry shall restrict all changes to the registration data, including transfer and deletion of the domain names, but the name will remain in the TLD DNS zone file and will thus continue to resolve. The support staff will “lock” the domain by associating the following EPP statuses with the domain and relevant contact objects:
* ServerUpdateProhibited, with an EPP reason code of “URS”
* ServerDeleteProhibited, with an EPP reason code of “URS”
* ServerTransferProhibited, with an EPP reason code of “URS”
* The registry operator’s support staff will then notify the URS provider immediately upon locking the domain name, via email.

The registry operator’s support staff will retain all copies of emails from the URS providers, assign them a tracking or ticket number, and will track the status of each opened URS case through to resolution via spreadsheet or database.

The registry operator’s support staff will execute further operations upon notice from the URS providers. The URS provider is required to specify the remedy and required actions of the registry operator, with notification to the registrant, the complainant, and the registrar.

As per the URS guidelines, if the complainant prevails, the “registry operator shall suspend the domain name, which shall remain suspended for the balance of the registration period and would not resolve to the original web site. The nameservers shall be redirected to an informational web page provided by the URS provider about the URS. The WHOIS for the domain name shall continue to display all of the information of the original registrant except for the redirection of the nameservers. In addition, the WHOIS shall reflect that the domain name will not be able to be transferred, deleted or modified for the life of the registration.”

Community TLD considerations

Unqualified registrations (registrations in violation of the registry’s eligibility restrictions or policies)

Before DNS resolution is permitted for their domain, .ECO registrants must demonstrate a commitment to the .ECO purpose, principles and policies by agreeing to the registrant agreement, which includes a commitment to the .ECO mission and purpose, affirmation of membership in the environmental community, and answering the mandatory .ECO-profile questions.

Registrants must complete a .ECO-profile that includes a series of mandatory and voluntary questions about commitments, memberships, certification, reporting and other activities undertaken in support of the Community’s goals. Responses will form a .ECO-profile web page that will be added to a public online database called the .ECO System. Registrant .ECO-profiles will be linked to the Registrant’s .ECO domain via a .ECO logo trust mark, like those in common use (eg, TRUSTe online privacy seal and VeriSign Trust Seal).

The registry will employ standard registration lifecycle mechanisms, statuses, and states such as HOLD or LOCK functions, or other existing Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) commands, in order to disallow a domain to be active when a registrant is not in compliance with the community eligibility requirements or under related community dispute resolution procedures.

Accountability and abuse prevention: The Registry will layer community forums, online complaint and abuse reporting, dispute resolution, mediation, and arbitration as required to ensure policies are enforced in a transparent and accountable way. The Registry will engage the Dot Eco Global Community Organization on matters requiring broader policy decisions.

Beyond the baseline eligibility requirements, abuse prevention and mitigation measures will include:

* Spot checks: reviewing a percent of .ECO-profiles to ensure compliance.
* Risk based audits: reviewing .ECO-profile disclosures (eligibility disclosures) for industries, sectors, or registrant types which are identified as having higher risk of abuse
* Verified .ECO-profiles: verified .ECO-profiles will be offered for a fee (via an internal or outsourced service), akin to the ‘Twitter Verified’ program, to increase accuracy and further reduce abuse. (See Twitter: FAQ about Verified Accounts: http:⁄⁄goo.gl⁄WHA7y).
* Community member flagging ⁄ comment: If the user believes that a domain is inconsistent with the mission and purpose of the .ECO Community TLD, s⁄he may ‘flag’ the domain for review, using the ‘flag for review’ functionality on the .ECO-profile page. Such ‘flagged’ domains will be queued for review and assessed as appropriate.

Rights protection or other disputes

Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: Registrants and rights holders will have access to fair and transparent processes to adjudicate claims to domains that also protect registrants against reverse domain hijacking. Names registered in the Sunrise Period will be subject to a Sunrise Dispute Policy. This policy and procedure will be in effect for a finite time period, to provide special protection of qualified trademark rights. See response to #29 (“Rights Protection Mechanisms”).

.ECO domains will be subject to the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).

.ECO domains will also be subject to the Universal Rapid Suspension (URS) policy. See the URS specifications in Applicant Guidebook Module and response #29 (“Rights Protection Mechanisms”) for full details. The Registry will provide systems to take in and administrate cases as per ICANN’s Registrar Transfer Dispute Resolutions Policy, allowing registrars to protect registrants by filing disputes about inter-registrar transfers that they believe were unauthorized or improperly executed.

The Registry will support a Community Eligibility Dispute Resolution Process (CEDRP) aligned with the Accountability Policy described in the .ECO Policy Consensus. This dispute process can be initiated by either a member of the .ECO community or a member of the general public to address an alleged violation of the .ECO member policies or operating requirements by a registrant or registrar.

Please see responses #18(b), #20(e) for a description of community eligibility and registration requirements for the .ECO Community TLD, and response #28 for a review of abuse prevention and mitigation.

Rights protection via the RRA

The following will be memorialized and be made binding via the Registry-Registrar and Registrar-Registrant Agreements:

* The registry may reject a registration request or a reservation request, or may delete, revoke, suspend, cancel, or transfer a registration or reservation under the following criteria:
a. to enforce registry policies and ICANN requirements; each as amended from time to time;
b. that is not accompanied by complete and accurate information as required by ICANN requirements and⁄or registry policies or where required information is not updated and⁄or corrected as required by ICANN requirements and⁄or registry policies;
c. to protect the integrity and stability of the registry, its operations, and the TLD system;
d. to comply with any applicable law, regulation, holding, order, or decision issued by a court, administrative authority, or dispute resolution service provider with jurisdiction over the registry;
e. to establish, assert, or defend the legal rights of the registry or a third party or to avoid any civil or criminal liability on the part of the registry and⁄or its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers, directors, representatives, employees, contractors, and stockholders;
f. to correct mistakes made by the registry or any accredited registrar in connection with a registration; or
g. as otherwise provided in the Registry-Registrar Agreement and⁄or the Registrar-Registrant Agreement.

Reducing opportunities for behaviors such as phishing or pharming

In our response to question #28, the registry operator has described its anti-abuse program. Rather than repeating the policies and procedures here, please see our response to question #28 for full details.

In the case of this TLD, Big Room will apply an approach that addresses registered domain names (rather than potentially registered domains). This approach will not infringe upon the rights of eligible registrants to register domains, and allows Big Room internal controls, as well as community-developed UDRP and URS policies and procedures if needed, to deal with complaints, should there be any.

Afilias is a member of various security fora which provide access to lists of names in each TLD which may be used for malicious purposes. Such identified names will be subject to the TLD anti-abuse policy, including rapid suspensions after due process.

Rights protection resourcing plans

Since its founding, Afilias is focused on delivering secure, stable and reliable registry services. Several essential management and staff who designed and launched the Afilias registry in 2001 and expanded the number of TLDs supported, all while maintaining strict service levels over the past decade, are still in place today. This experiential continuity will endure for the implementation and on-going maintenance of this TLD. Afilias operates in a matrix structure, which allows its staff to be allocated to various critical functions in both a dedicated and a shared manner. With a team of specialists and generalists, the Afilias project management methodology allows efficient and effective use of our staff in a focused way.

Supporting RPMs requires several departments within the registry operator as well as within Afilias. The implementation of Sunrise and the Trademark Claims service and on-going RPM activities will pull from the 102 Afilias staff members of the engineering, product management, development, security and policy teams at Afilias and the support staff of the registry operator, which is on duty 24x7. A trademark validator will also be assigned within the registry operator, whose responsibilities may require as much as 50% of full-time employment if the domains under management were to exceed several million. No additional hardware or software resources are required to support this as Afilias has fully-operational capabilities to manage abuse today.

Big Room will maintain sufficient staff resources to implement identified abuse mitigation and prevention measures, rights protection mechanisms, and respond to issues as they arise. As necessary additional support will be outsourced or contracted in line with registry growth. Please see response #47 for a description of the Community and Policy Director, Customer Service Coordinator, Verification Coordinator, and Customer Support Assistant who are planned for years 1-3 of startup in support of these functions.

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