As in-house trade mark attorney and in her capacity as member of the Board of the Brand Registry Group (BRG), Sarah has kindly summarised the proposed changes to the Registry Agreement from a .brand perspective (as issued by the BRG). More information and background can be found here. Changes would be made to allow the owner of a .brand TLD to:
- use a single trusted Registrar (clause 2.9). This change will allow trade mark owners who have applied for new TLDs to promote and maintain trust in their .Brand Registries.
- have the option to object to the re-delegation of their .brand TLD during a 2 year “cooling off” period (clause 4.5). This would allow the .Brand to avoid any risk of consumer confusion or any other unintended collision consequences after the winding down of the Registry. This cooling off period would not prohibit a third party making an application for the TLD in the interim.
- be exempt from the Code of Conduct (Specification 9) provided the Registry meets the requirements of a .Brand TLD (under Specification 13). .Brands would instead be contractually obliged to conduct internal reviews at least annually (which certified reviews would be submitted to ICANN, and which may be made publicly available) and to inform ICANN if any change of circumstances would cause them to no longer meet the .Brand definition. In the event that a .Brand registry ceased to meet the definition, then Specification 13 would no longer apply.
Merpel's only comment is that the 9 January 2014 deadline for submitting comments is a bit ungenerous, seeing how many days of public holiday and private debauchery there are between now and then.
If any owners of a .brand TLD are interested in joining the BRG, they are encouraged to email the BRG Director General Philip Sheppard: outreach[at]brandregistrygroup.org.