With the list of applicants for new Internet Names having been announced on 13 June 2012, the one thing that all companies will be asking is “What can I do if someone has applied for my brand name?”
If one of these new extensions closely matches your brand (appel), product name (iPlod), industry sector (.computers) or community in which you have an interest (.music) your options will depend upon the state of the application in question; is it before the evaluation is complete (pre-delegation) or after the application has been approved (post delegation)?
1 - Comment on an application before it enters the evaluation phase. These comments will be taken into account by the evaluators.
2 - Formally object to an application while it is under evaluation. There are 4 grounds for objection, String Confusion (.appel vs .apple), Legal rights objections (trademarks), Community objections (does the apple growing community support .apple) and limited public interest (is .terrorist really in the public interest?)
3 - Negotiate with an applicant to enable them to secure your support, to withdraw your objection or to convince them to withdraw their application.
4 - Provoke a GAC early warning. The Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) is the representative body of various national governments with ICANN. The Early Warning Notice is a notice to the applicant from the GAC that the application or proposed string would be considered controversial or raise national sensitivities.
5 - Provoke a GAC Advice. The ICANN Board of Directors takes GAC Advice into consideration. The aim of GAC Advice is for the ICANN Board of Directors to get some level of comfort that a particular applied-for gTLD string does not impair the interests of one or more governments.
6 - Involve ICANN’s independent objector. The Independent Objector is an individual who must be and remain independent and unaffiliated with any of the gTLD applicants. The Independent Objector does not act on behalf of any particular person or entity, but acts solely in the best interests of the public who uses the global Internet.
7 - Initiate court proceedings - Court Proceedings may be initiated against ICANN or any other party, be it an applicant or not.
8 - Call upon the ICANN ombudsman. All along the Evaluation process, ICANN will take some decisions that will have an impact on many organisations. You may wish to raise a petition with the Ombudsman concerning decisions, actions, or inactions by one or more members of ICANN staff or by the ICANN Board of Directors that may impact you.
9 - Request for Reconsideration
ICANN can be requested to reconsider one or more decisions by submitting a request for reconsideration or review of an ICANN action or inaction to the extent that you have been adversely affected by one or more staff actions or inactions that contradict established ICANN policies, or one or more actions or inactions of the ICANN Board of Directors.
10 - Request an Independent Review
The request for independent review is a process in which one or three outside international jurists are asked to review an action or inaction by the Board of Directors of ICANN.
Some of these objections mechanisms are cost effective and straightforward, others are more costly and complicated. It is important to take independent expert advice on the feasibility and viability of employing any of these mechanisms in respect to your specific situation.
For further information and advice visit www.gtld.com