.spa

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Status: Proposed
country: International
Registry: Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council Limited[[Category:{{#sub:Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council Limited|2|-2}}]]
Registry Backend: Afilias[[Category:{{#sub:Afilias|2|-2}} Backend]]
Type: Generic
Category: Lifestyle
Priority #: 524 - Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council Limited
1374 - Top Level Domain Holdings
1696 - Donuts (Foggy Sunset, LLC)

.spa is a proposed TLD in ICANN's New gTLD Program.

Applications

Current Applicants

  1. Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council Limited, Community Priority Application

Former Applicants

  1. Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. filed for 68 TLDs on its own behalf.[1] This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.
  2. Donuts (Foggy Sunset, LLC), applied for 307 new TLDs. This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.

.spa was WITHDRAWN by TLDH, along with another 3 TLDs (.free, .zulu, .sale), in April 2013.[2]

.spa was WITHDRAWN by Donuts in November 2018.[3] This left the application from Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council Limited as the only active application for the TLD.

Community Application

The community priority application for .spa, from Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council Limited (ASWPC) is "connected with over 400 licensed spas across Asia and over 2000 spa professionals participating in and attending its events." While the organization is focused on Asia, they intend to operate the TLD as an open, international community space for all members of the spa community, which includes spa operators, professionals and practitioners, spa associations and their members, and spa products and services manufacturers and distributors. The ASWPC will create an International Registry board to oversee the registration policies for the TLD.[4]

Application History

Objection from Belgium government

The government of Belgium objected to the .spa string within the GAC, as the small city of Spa in Belgium is also the origin for the English word "spa." The GAC did not offer consensus advice on the string, and thus it was up to ICANN to decide whether to take into account Belgium's objections or let the application proceed.

Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council Limited entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Spa,[5] stating that it would reserve certain second level domains within the .spa TLD for the use of the city, and would set aside a portion of the revenue for the benefit of the city of Spa.[6]

In May 2014, ICANN announced they would allow the .spa applications to proceed as-is.[7] ICANN's communication to the Belgian government regarding the decision noted that the GAC did not present consensus advice.[8] The decision meant that ASWPC had the opportunity to engage in Community Priority Evaluation for the ownership of the domain.[8]

Community Priority Evaluation and Objections from Donuts

In 2015, ASWPC won its CPE, scoring 14 out of 16. Prior to the withdrawal of their application, Donuts had been contesting the CPE, engaging in ICANN's Cooperative Engagement Process.[9]

Controversy

Ownership stakes in the .spa gTLD are the subject of two separate causes of action by DotPH. One lawsuit has been filed in the High Court of Hong Kong. It is presumed that the other suit will be filed in the same court; however, only an unfiled draft complaint has been published.

DotPH Domains Inc. & NSPH Ltd. v. Asia Spa and Wellness Promotion Council Ltd., et. al

On October 19, 2020 DotPH and its subsidiary entity NSPH Limited filed suit against ASWPC, DotAsia, Namesphere, and individuals associated with those entities, alleging that DotPH's ownership in the .spa TLD was not being honored by defendants in their various capacities, that several of the defendants were in breach of contracts or agreements with DotPH, and that the individual defendants had breached duties of good faith, fiduciary responsibility, or agency in negotiations with or communications to DotPH and its principal, Joel Disini.[10]

DotPH Domains Inc. v. DotAsia Organisation Ltd., Namesphere Ltd.

DotPH has indicated an intent to file suit against DotAsia and Namesphere, alleging that DotPH is entitled to at least 20% of the authorized and issued shares of Namesphere.[11] The complaint alleges that Namesphere, a wholly owned subsidiary of DotAsia, accepted investment in the amount of $180,000 from DotPH, in exchange for 20% of the outstanding shares in Namesphere.[11] The complaint alleges that DotAsia subsequently diluted DotPH's stake in Namesphere in violation of contractual and implied duties, and has neither issued stock to DotPH nor otherwise acknowledged DotPH's shareholder rights.[11]

Namesphere was formed with the intent that it be a joint venture investment entity for application for the .spa gTLD.[10] It was part of a coalition of organizations that put forward the ASWPC application for the .spa domain. This suit therefore has implications for the rights to the .spa gTLD.

References