Frequently Asked Questions - Registries

Yes. If a Registry Operator reserves a domain name from registration in accordance with the Registry Agreement and thereafter releases for Allocation or registration the reserved domain name at any time prior to the start date of the Claims Period, the domain name must be treated like any other domain name for any applicable Sunrise Period, Limited Registration Period, Launch Program or Claims Period. However, if the domain name is released for Allocation or registration at any time following the start date of the Claims Period, the domain name must be subject to the Claims Services for a period of 90 calendar days following the date it was released (even if the domain name is released following completion of the scheduled Claims Period), provided that this requirement will expire if the Trademark Clearinghouse (or any ICANN-designated successor thereto) is no longer in operation.

General Registration begins on the first day that domain names are generally made available to all registrants that are qualified to register domain names in the TLD. A “landrush period” that meets the above description would be considered General Registration. If, however, the “landrush period” has eligibility requirements that limit the availability of domain names to registrants satisfying certain conditions, then the “landrush period” would be considered a Limited Registration Period and not the beginning of General Registration. Because a Limited Registration Period cannot overlap with the Claims Period, it also cannot overlap with General Registration. Registry Operators are encouraged to be clear in defining their periods so as to aid the Community’s understanding and to avoid questions about compliance with the TMCH Requirements.

No. Only registrars may query the CNIS.

Registrars can only query the CNIS for domain names that have been applied for by a potential domain name registrant. Registrars are prohibited from querying the CNIS for any other purpose.

The specific technical obligations that registrars must satisfy when processing Claims Registrations is available at http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-lozano-tmch-func-spec sections 5.3.4 and 5.3.5. In general, Registrars must verify domain name availability with the Registry Operator and obtain a CNIS lookup key if the label is covered by a trademark record, registrars must query the CNIS to obtain Claims Notice Information (see section 6.5 of http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-lozano-tmch-func-spec section), use the Claims Notice Information to populate the Trademark Notice (see Exhibit A of http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/about/trademark-clearinghouse/rpm-requireme...), clearly and conspicuously display the Trademark Notice to the potential domain name registrant and inquire as to whether the potential domain name registrant wishes to continue with the registration. The Trademark Notice must be provided by the registrar at the time of potential registration in real time, without cost to the prospective domain name registrant, and must be in the form specified in the Trademark Notice Form (an example of which is attached to Exhibit B of the TMCH Requirements). The Trademark Notice must require an affirmative confirmation by the potential domain name registrant to continue with the registration.

No. The Claims Period is the first 90 days of General Registration. A Limited Registration Period by definition is a registration period in which the Registry Operator has imposed additional registration restrictions beyond the registration policies for the TLD’s General Registration. Thus, a Limited Registration Period cannot occur at the same time as the Claims Period / General Registration.

A Limited Registration Period is any registration period between the end of the Sunrise Period and the start of General Registration. Thus, a Limited Registration Period must have some registration restriction that limits domain names from being generally available to all registrants that are qualified to register domain names within the TLD. Any registration during a Limited Registration Period must be subject to the Claims Services in the same manner as registrations registered or Allocated during the Claims Period.

For at least the first 90 days of General Registration, each TLD must provide the Claims Services. The Claims Services provide notice to potential domain name registrants that the domain they are seeking to register matches a label in the Trademark Clearinghouse. If the registrant decides to register the domain name, the Trademark Clearinghouse will notify the applicable trademark holder of the domain name registration.

A Registry Operator who indicated that its TLD would be a geographic TLD can apply to conduct an Approved Launch Program just like any other Registry Operator. In addition, if geographic TLD Registry Operators and representatives of the Intellectual Property Constituency recommend to ICANN the creation of a registration program that sets forth a defined list of labels or categories of labels that geographic TLDs may Allocate or register to third parties prior to or during a Sunrise Period, and ICANN accepts and implements such recommendation, there will be a presumption of approval for geographic TLDs that thereafter apply for that program. However, ICANN will still review the application and may reject the application if ICANN reasonably determines that such requested registration program could contribute to consumer confusion or the infringement of intellectual property rights. Neither the IPC nor any Registry Operator is required to have these discussions, but Registry Operators will always be allowed to individually apply to conduct an Approved Launch Program as discussed above.

If a Registry Operator seeks ICANN’s approval of a registration program that is substantially similar to an Approved Launch Program previously approved by ICANN under similar circumstances for the new gTLD program, the requested registration program application will carry a presumption of being approved. A Registry Operator who seeks the benefit of this presumption must state with specificity why the Launch Application is similar to the allegedly similar Approved Launch Program and detail the facts and circumstances evidencing such similarity. ICANN will review the Approved Launch Program application and may reject the Approved Launch Program application if ICANN reasonably determines that the requested registration program could contribute to consumer confusion or the infringement of intellectual property rights.

If a Registry Operator applies to ICANN to conduct an Approved Launch Program that would implement programs set forth in its application for the TLD, there will be a presumption that the Launch Program will be allowed so long as it was set forth in reasonable detail in the application for the TLD so as to allow for meaningful review and public comment of the plan at the time the application was posted. A Registry Operator who seeks the benefit of this presumption must state with specificity the relevant portions of its TLD application that describe the launch program as well as detail how the applied for program in its Approved Launch Program application compares to the launch program described in its TLD application. ICANN will review the Approved Launch Program application, as well as any public comments submitted in response to the program described in the TLD application, and may reject the Approved Launch Application if ICANN reasonably determines that such requested registration program could contribute to consumer confusion or the infringement of intellectual property rights.

Yes. Pursuant to Section 2.2.4 of the RPM requirements as provided by ICANN, the only way a Registry Operator can Allocate or register domain names to a third party prior to the Sunrise Period is through an Approved Launch Program or, if made available, a Qualified Launch Program. In order to offer an Approved Launch Program, a Registry Operator must apply to ICANN and have its application approved prior to offering the Approved Launch Program. For more information, please ICANN's website

ICANN is developing a process for the submission and processing of applications for Approved Launch Programs that it expects to post for use soon. Any Registry Operator’s application to offer an Approved Launch Program may be published for public comment at ICANN’s discretion.

A Registry Operator may, after signing its Registry Agreement and until the start date of its Sunrise Period, apply to ICANN for approval to conduct an Approved Launch Program.

ICANN is currently reviewing the feasibility and implementation of Qualified Launch Programs. If a process that will allow Registry Operators to offer a Qualified Launch Program is approved by ICANN, ICANN will prepare an addendum to the TMCH Requirements providing for the implementation of the Qualified Launch Program for all Registry Operators. The addendum, if adopted, will be automatically incorporated into the TMCH Requirements.

Under the New gTLD Collision Occurrence Management Plan, no domain names may be activated in a TLD until 120 days after the Registry Agreement for the TLD is signed. It is possible that a Sunrise Period may commence prior to the expiration of this 120 day period. In this situation, Sunrise Registrations may be registered or Allocated to Sunrise Eligible Rights Holders during the Sunrise Period, but cannot be activated until the 120
day period has expired. The same prohibition on activation would also apply to any Qualified Launch Program or Approved Launch Program.

Registry Operators may accept applications for the same domain name from different Sunrise-Eligible Rights Holders. If an auction is used to define the ultimate registrant of that domain name to one of the Sunrise-Eligible Rights Holders, and the domain name is withheld to such Sunrise-Eligible Rights Holder, thus not allocating nor registering the domain name to registrants in a Limited Registration Period or General Registration, then the auction methodology complies with Section 3.2.4.

In a Start-Date Sunrise, a Registry Operator may Allocate or register domain names on a first-come, first-served basis or any other time-based Allocation or registration process, in addition to any other manner of Allocation or registration they desire. In an End-Date Sunrise, a Registry Operator must not Allocate or register domain names prior to the end of the Sunrise Period and must not employ a first-come, first-served or any other time-based Allocation or registration process.

The general rule is that domain names may only be registered during a Sunrise Period to Sunrise-Eligible Rights Holders who have a valid SMD file issued by the Trademark Clearinghouse. Unless the Registry Operator has received ICANN’s approval for an Approved Launch Program or ICANN implements a Qualified Launch Program as described in the TMCH Requirements, the Registry Operator may not register or Allocate domain names prior to the completion of the Sunrise Period to non-Sunrise-Eligible Rights Holders. An Allocation of a domain name includes any allocation, designation, assignment, or other form of earmarking of a domain name to a potential domain name registrant.

Yes. All Registry Operators must offer a Sunrise Dispute Resolution Policy (SDRP), which will allow challenges to Sunrise Registrations related to Registry Operator’s Allocation and registration policies, including on the grounds that the domain name that was registered does not match the Trademark Record on which the Sunrise-Eligible Rights Holder based its Sunrise Registration. Because each TLD’s Sunrise Period registration policies can be different, the Registry Operator has discretion when designing its SDRP. A complete SDRP must be included in the TLD Startup Information.

During a Sunrise Period, a Registry Operator may apply restrictions relating to the underlying rights of a Trademark Record so long as those restrictions are related to the purpose of the TLD. For example, if the purpose of a TLD was to serve a particular region, the Registry Operator could require that the Trademark Record be registered in that jurisdiction to be eligible for the Sunrise Period. However, if having a trademark from any jurisdiction meets the eligibility requirements to register a domain name in a subsequent registration period, the subsequent registration period eligibility requirements may be seen as evidence that the jurisdiction restriction in the Sunrise Period was not actually related to the purpose of the TLD.

All registrations during a Sunrise Period must include a valid SMD file. Additionally, a Registry Operator may (i) apply restrictions relating to the underlying rights of a trademark related to the purpose of the TLD, (ii) specify requirements that are not related to the scope of mark rights, (iii) require the SMD file information to match the applicable Whois record, and (iv) impose reasonable date restrictions relating to the date that the trademark was registered, validated or protected in order to prevent gaming of the Sunrise Period. Any other registration restrictions must be imposed consistently throughout any Limited Registration Period and General Registration.

A Start-Date Sunrise Period must stay open for at least 30 days and cannot commence prior to expiration of the required 30 day notice period. An End-Date Sunrise Period must stay open for at least 60 days. In either case, a Sunrise Period must not begin until ICANN has accepted the Registry Operator’s TLD Startup Information and the Registry Operator has been assigned a Sunrise Period start date.

Yes. A Registry Operator may not process registrations of domain names during a Sunrise Period unless the registration is accompanied by a valid Signed Mark Data (SMD) file issued by the Trademark Clearinghouse.