29 Rights Protection Mechanisms
|gTLD||Full Legal Name||E-mail suffix||Detail|
|.SFR||Societe Francaise du Radiotelephone - SFR||sfr.com||View|
As has been explained above, the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator intends the applied-for TLD to be a restricted and closely monitored gTLD. This characteristics are mainly inspired by the Applicant’s ⁄ Registry Operator’s desire to protect the reputation of the key brands and identifiers of the Applicant under any circumstances.
2. Preventing abusive domain name registrations
In order to prevent abusive domain name registrations in the applied-for TLD, various steps in the domain name lifecycle will be controlled by the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator. In order to enable the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator to do this, it will provide access to a control panel (“portal”) to key individuals within the Applicant’s organization. By way of this portal, these users can exercise at any time control over the applied-for TLD and any and all domain names registered in this extension, and in particular:
1) validate on an ongoing basis the registrant’s eligibility and user rights in order to register domain names in the applied-for TLD;
2) validate whether a (about to be) registered domain name in the applied-for TLD corresponds to the naming conventions that will be established by the Registry Operator for domain names registered in the applied-for TLD;
3) validate contact information associated with registered domain names, in particular these contacts that can exercise control over the domain name itself, the name servers associated with such domain name, etc.;
4) validate specific commands, including create, update and delete commands;
5) approve for some or all domain names any transfer or trade requests, or intervene in the execution of such requests where the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator suspects that such transfer or trade requests are initiated in bad faith; and
6) review whether the use that is made of a particular domain name corresponds with the Applicant’s ⁄ Registry Operator’s use policy, and suspend domain name registrations or even delete name servers associated with domain names that are being used in a manner that does not comply with the types of uses that are allowed by the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator.
Therefore, it is likely that for the term of the Registry Operator Agreement that will be executed between the Applicant and ICANN following award of the applied-for TLD by the latter to the Applicant, the Registry Operator will carefully monitor and manage all domain name registrations that are being made in the applied-for TLD.
This way, the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will put measures in place on a continuous basis whereby, first of all, the rights and legitimate interest of third parties are safeguarded, and, secondly, the reputation and good name of the key brands and identifiers of the Applicant will be underlined at all times.
3. Internal verification and validation processes
One of the most effective safeguards that will be implemented by the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will be the screening of every domain name before this domain name gets registered and⁄or entered into the zone file of the applied-for TLD.
During any of such screenings, the relevant legal and risk management departments of the Applicant will consider the following factors:
1) the likelihood of trademark infringement, if and when such domain name would become registered;
2) the legitimate interests the Registry Operator or other members of the Applicant would have when using such domain name. This is in particular relevant if the domain name represents a generic, dictionary word that could be protected as a trademark. Given the fact that various members of the Applicant are engaged in the sale ⁄ retail of tens of thousands consumer goods, there is a likelihood that certain companies hold trademark registrations for the generic word relating to any of these goods. However, the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will at all times be entitled to invoke that it is making fair use of such domain name insofar and to the extent any such use is merely descriptive and relates to the offering of any such goods to consumers.
3) any potential harm being done to trademark owners when registering and using a particular domain name in the applied-for TLD, and the benefit such domain name would have for the registrant.
Furthermore, as explained above and in various other sections of this application, the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will be screening on an ongoing basis the use that is being made of any domain name registered in the applied-for TLD and will implement reasonable measures in order to avoid harm being done to third parties.
Although the above processes will make it extremely unlikely that the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will engage or encourage potentially malicious or infringing activities to be carried out under the applied-for TLD, these cannot be completely excluded.
Therefore, in addition to monitor any domain names registered under the applied-for TLD and the use that is made of such domain names, the Registry will – in accordance with its domain name registration policies – at all times be entitled to intervene if any such activities have been detected. Measures that can be taken include the suspension, revocation and blocking of any domain name registration and, in general, take any action necessary in order to limit or outright avoid any harm being done to the interests and reputation of third parties, the Registry Operator and its eligible registrants.
When relevant, the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will implement a Sunrise process, whereby holders of certain trademarks will be entitled to safeguard the domain names that are identical (or even confusingly similar) to the name(s) to which they hold rights.
However, as mentioned in response to Question 18 of this application, the applied-for TLD is at least initially intended to be a single registrant-TLD, where only the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator (or other members of the Applicant) will be entitled to register domain names. Now, Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator has no interest whatsoever to register any domain name on which it has no legitimate interest and⁄or that is useful for the day-to-day business activities of the eligible registrants within the TLD.
Therefore, the Applicant expects that the net effect of the operation of the TLD, and whether or not a Sunrise process is being introduced or not, will be the same.
However, the Applicant – being a member of the Applicant, holding various highly reputable brands – sees a benefit for introducing such Sunrise process at a specific point in time, albeit with the sole purpose of putting other brand owners at ease.
Such process would therefore most probably include providing the opportunity to other brand owners – unrelated to the Applicant or the other members of the Applicant – to block names to which such brand owners have rights, as demonstrated by the Trademark Clearinghouse.
Applicant’s ⁄ Registry Operator’s back-end registry operator has significant experience in managing Sunrise processes. In particular, various key staff members were heavily involved in designing and implementing Sunrise processes that preceded the launch of the .EU ccTLD, which is generally considered the most successful Sunrise process that has ever been implemented.
At the time of submitting this application, the back-end registry operator is involved in the implementation of the Sunrise process for the .SX TLD.
Furthermore, some of these staff members have been involved in the design and development of the Clearing House for Intellectual Property (www.ipclearinghouse.org), a trademark clearinghouse that has been used by various ccTLDs and gTLDs in order to manage their start-up processes. Therefore, the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator can rely on significant experience and expertise in order to deploy these processes in an efficient and swift manner.
5. Trademark Claims
The Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will support ICANN’s Trademark Claims process. Depending on the actual process that will be put in place by the Trademark Clearinghouse, the Applicant will implement these processes for at least the duration indicated in ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook or may even have this process in place for a longer term.
Similar processes have been put in place by various staff members of the Applicant’s back-end registry operator, so also here the Applicant can bow on significant and hands-on experience in handling these types of processes.
6. Complaints Point of Contact
As is the case for various other processes and proceedings whereby third parties’ interests can be harmed, the Complaints Point of Contact that will be put in place by the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will also here play a pivotal role.
Any party claiming that his trademark(s) are infringed due to the registration and use of a domain name in the applied-for TLD is able to file a complaint before the Complaints Point of Contact of the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator. Filing these complaints will be free of charge. The Complaints Point of Contact will generally provide a written response or even resolution of the matter within 5-10 business days following the receipt of the complaint.
Within this timeframe, the Complaints Point of Contact will investigate the complaint, and carry out ex officio investigations. As mentioned previously, the Complaints Point of Contact is entitled to suspend domain name registrations, delete name servers associated with infringing domain name registrations, or even outright revoke and block domain names from further registration if the Complaints Point of Contact is of the opinion that such domain name potentially infringes the rights of a third party, that no legitimate use is being made by the registrant of such domain name, and that there is bad faith involved.
It is the true desire of the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator to have potential issues resolved by the Complaints Point of Contact. Therefore costly litigation can be avoided and issues resolved amicably.
7. UDRP and URS
The Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will implement all domain name dispute resolution policies designed by ICANN, including but not limited to those described in Consensus Policies and the Applicant Guidebook.
In this respect, the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will put any registered domain name on hold following receipt of a notification from the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy or the Uniform Rapid Suspension Policy dispute resolution service provider that a complaint under such policies have been received.
Furthermore, it will implement decisions rendered by such dispute resolution service providers, however taking into account at all times that eligibility restrictions may be in force for domain name registrations made in the applied-for TLD.
This could entail that the only remedy available to a third party that is not entitled by the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator to register domain names in the applied-for TLD will be the revocation ⁄ deletion of the domain name. In order to ensure maximum compliance with any such decision, the Applicant ⁄ Registry Operator will put such domain name on a blocked list (i.e. make this domain name unavailable for further registration) insofar and to the extent the UDRP ⁄ URS dispute resolution service provider was of the opinion that the domain name registered by any party other than the Registry Operator or other members of the Applicant meets the requirements set out in the UDRP or URS.
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