Difference between revisions of ".eco"

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{{TLD|
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'''.eco''' is a generic [[TLD|top level domain]] for use by "any business, government, non-profit or individual working toward a sustainable future."<ref>[http://go.eco Go.eco]</ref>. The TLD is operated by [[Big Room Inc.]] a certified [[B Corporation]].
|logo  =
 
|status = Proposed
 
|manager  =
 
|country  =
 
|registryprovider  =
 
|date  =
 
|type  = [[Community gTLD]] <br> [[gTLD|Generic]]
 
|category = [[:Category:Industry New gTLDs|Industry]]
 
|community  = Environmental community
 
|priority = 156 - [[Donuts]] (Little Birch, LLC)<br>424 - [[Big Room Inc.]]<br>1475 - [[Top Level Domain Holdings]]<br>1798 - [[planet.ECO LLC]]
 
|keypeople  =
 
}}
 
'''.eco''' is a proposed [[gTLD]] in [[ICANN]]'s [[New gTLD Program|new gTLD program]]. The TLD is aimed at drawing attention to ecological/environmental causes and for organizations, their membership, businesses, products and other entities that want to associate themselves with ecology/the environment.
 
  
==Current Applicants==
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==Activation Requirements==
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The .eco TLD has established baseline requirements for those who wish to register .eco domain names. Applicants for .eco domains must establish a profile with the registry, identify the "areas of sustainability" that the applicant is focused on, and "pledge to support positive change for the planet and to be honest when sharing information on environmental actions."<ref name="activation">[https://support.go.eco/en/articles/578589-what-questions-do-i-need-to-answer-in-my-eco-profile Go.eco - What questions do I need to answer in my .eco profile?</ref>
  
# [[Big Room Inc.]] - [[Community gTLD | Community-designated Application]]. This applicant submitted a [[PIC|Public Interest Commitment]], which can be downloaded [https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1753 here].
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== Launch ==
# [[Donuts]] (Little Birch, LLC), .eco is one of 307 TLDs submitted by the company. This applicant submitted a [[PIC|Public Interest Commitment]], which can be downloaded [https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/790 here].
 
# [[planet.ECO, LLC]] - A US-based Small Disadvantaged Business, ([http://www.sba.gov/content/disadvantaged-businesses SBA-SDB)].ECO gTLD applicant, and the exclusive owner of the only US-based .ECO® trademark. <ref>[http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/03/prweb11653286.htm]</ref>
 
# [[Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd.]], one of 68 applications submitted by the company on its own behalf. This applicant submitted a [[PIC|Public Interest Commitment]], which can be downloaded [https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1523 here].
 
  
===TLDH & $15mm Auction Funding===
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The .eco domain was launched via a 60 day end date sunrise for registrants of ICANN's [[Trademark Clearinghouse]], followed by a two week quiet period.  
On February 26 2013, [[Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd.]] announced that it had entered into a funding agreement worth $15 million to be used in the case of auction for a specific unnamed TLD. The investor will not receive ownership of the TLD but a share of future revenues. TLDH did not name the TLD that the funds are directed for, and it is in 11 head to head contentions and 12 featuring more than one contender.<ref>[http://domainnamewire.com/2013/02/26/tldh-gets-up-to-15-million-for-a-single-top-level-domain-name-auction/ TLDh Gets 15 Million for A Single Top Level Domain Name Auction, DomainNameWire.com] Published and Retrieved 26 Feb 2013</ref>
 
  
==Community Result==
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Public launch began with a 7 day early access period, followed by general availability.
On 6 October 2014 the Economist Intelligence Unit, ICANN's community priority evaluator, awarded Big Room Inc.'s .eco application priority, [https://www.icann.org/sites/default/files/tlds/eco/eco-cpe-1-912-59314-en.pdf scoring the application 14/16 points]. On 18 November 2014 the ICANN Board issued a [https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/determination-little-birch-minds-machines-18nov14-en.pdf final determination] upholding the result. On October 24, 2014, approximately 2 weeks after passing community priority evaluation, the status was changed to "on-hold" due to a pending accountability mechanism for applicant Big Room, Inc.
 
  
On February 20, 2015 Jacob Malthouse, a former ICANN Regional Liason (Responsible for ICANN engagements with the Caribbean and Canada) and co-founder of Big Room Inc., filed a Reconsideration Request against ICANN’s staff members, on the behalf of Big Room Inc. Malthouse stated, “Big Room Inc. (“Big Room”) respectfully requests Board reconsideration of ICANN staff inaction in connection with its failure to terminate the ongoing Cooperative Engagement Process (“CEP”) pertaining to the .ECO generic top level domain (gTLD) subject matter." In the request Malthouse further states “ICANN should not permit powerful private interests such as Complainants to manipulate ICANN’s processes and procedures to the detriment of communities like the environmental community and entities like Big Room that work on their behalf”. “In sum, Big Room is suffering considerable harm as a result of its .ECO gTLD application being placed in “on hold” status for an indeterminate amount of time, which is a direct result of ICANN staff inaction with respect to its failure to terminate the ongoing, inappropriate CEP with Complainants.” Big Room’s request for reconsideration has since been withdrawn, having no determination made by the ICANN Board of Governance Committee (BCG) on the scheduled review date of March 19, 2015 or anytime thereafter.<ref> [https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/reconsideration-request-15-2-big-room-inc-20feb15-en.pdf Big Room Inc. - Withdrawn Reconsideration Filing]</ref>
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Key launch dates:
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* February 1 - April 2, 2017 - Sunrise (end-date)
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* April 18 - 25, 2017 - Early Access Program
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* '''April 25, 2017 - General Availability'''
  
===Objection===
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== Domain Granting Program ==
An official Legal Rights Objection was filed by the applicant planet.ECO, LLC, against fellow applicant [[Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd.]].<ref>[http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/lro/cases/ LRO Cases, WIPO.int]</ref>
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In September 2016, Big Room announced that it would be granting up to 500 domains to the environmental community. The grants would form a permanent reserved list of domains only accessible to environmental non-profits.
  
A Legal Rights Objection, as defined by the ICANN approved mediator, [[WIPO]], is when, "third parties may file a formal objection to an application on several grounds, including, for trademark owners and Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs) [..] When such an objection is filed, an independent panel (comprised of one or three experts) will determine whether the applicant’s potential use of the applied-for gTLD would be likely to infringe [..] the objector’s existing trademark, or IGO name or acronym."<ref>[http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/lro/ LRO, WIPO.int] Retrieved 25 March 2013</ref>
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Over 350 organizations from 50 countries expressed their views on what names should be reserved for community use.  
  
==Application Details==
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==Application History & Controversies==
===Big Room, Inc.===
 
One public applicant, [[Big Room Inc.]], announced a partnership with [[Afilias]] for their back-end and technical needs, and has applied for .eco as a [[Community gTLD]] for the environmental community. They have been working with a Council of 12 environmental groups on a Policy Charter for .ECO since 2008. The Council is currently chaired by the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) International and Akatu Institute (Brazil). Other members include Greenpeace, Green Cross International, and Green Belt Movement International. In addition, over fifty other environmental groups, including 350.org, Ocean Conservancy, Amazon Watch and others support the effort, making it one of the largest environmental coalitions ever assembled. The Executive Directors of the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Global Compact also included letters supporting a community-designated .eco domain and welcoming a multi-stakeholder approach to administering it on behalf of the environmental community.
 
  
The goal is to demonstrate the requisite community support and define a purpose and policies for .ECO for the greater good.<ref>[http://doteco.org/]</ref>
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=== Original Applicants ===
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''Prevailing Applicant''
  
An excerpt from its Community Priority Application: "In 2009, Big Room, itself a Certified B Corporation obliged to consider environmental, social and financial interests, launched an international multi-year stakeholder consultation process with the Community on the potential for .ECO to exist as a Community TLD. The process included 7 in-person consultations on 5 continents. Draft policies were published for 3 public comment periods of at least 30 days each...Since establishment, this international multi-stakeholder community council, made up of leading environmental organizations including WWF International, Greenpeace International, Green Cross International and others, has worked to define the mission, purpose and policies for a .ECO Community TLD that reflects the Community’s interests. The council’s work included 2 in-person meetings (Brussels ⁄ Washington, DC) and more than 20 conference calls between members. In September 2010, the council unanimously adopted a charter for the .ECO Community TLD - the .ECO Policy Consensus. The purpose and principles outlined in the .ECO Policy Consensus define what .ECO will mean as an active expression of the goals, values and interests of the Community. The Consensus has been reviewed and affirmed by the Big Room board of directors."
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1. [[Big Room Inc.]] - The only [[Community gTLD |community-priority application]]. This applicant submitted a [[PIC|Public Interest Commitment]], which can be downloaded [https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1753 here].
  
Eligibility for registration will be based on responses to questions about the environmental performance, commitments and actions of registrants, within the context of the purpose, type and location of the registrant. Responses will be compiled and posted into a public ".ECO-Profile". The .ECO profiles will be aggregated into a common online platform called the ".ECO System". This process is described in detail in Big Room's application and was designed in collaboration with and approved by the global environmental community. The process is designed to encourage action in support of environmental goals, foster environmental transparency, and allow for broad participation in registering .ECO domains.<ref>Application 1-912-59314</ref>
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''Other Applicants''
  
==Early Contention==
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2. [[Donuts]] (Little Birch, LLC) - one of 307 gTLD applications submitted by the company. This applicant submitted a [[PIC|Public Interest Commitment]], which can be downloaded [https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/790 here].
.eco was identified as a contentious TLD early on, with the main parties being [[Big Room Inc.]], and Dot Eco LLC. Dot Eco LLC was aligned with former Vice-President of the USA, [[Al Gore]], and the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation. Big Room Inc. was, at that time, largely associated with Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russian ex-president, Green Cross International and WWF International. In August 2009, Dot Eco LLC released a 'green paper' critiquing Big Room Inc.'s approach. Big Room did not respond to the critique other than that it was  'unfortunate'. <ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8199802.stm Green Domain Sparks War of Words, BBCNews.com]</ref>
 
  
On September 28, 2011, Al Gore's organization, the Climate Reality project dropped its support to the Dot Eco LLC bid to give way to the application of Big Room Inc., which is supported by Michael Gorbachev's Green Cross International. A spokesman from Gore's camp explained that Climate Reality as a non-profit organization has limited resources and they decided to focus their campaign on global climate issues. <ref>[http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2112810/al-gore-mikhail-gorbachev-control-eco-domain Al Gore Mikhail Gorbachev Control Eco Domain, BusinessGreen.com]</ref> Despite losing Gore's support, [[Minds + Machines]] announced its intentions to apply for a [[.eco]] TLD whether they would do that under their own name or through a client or separate company was initially unclear.<ref>
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3. [[planet.ECO LLC]] - A US-based Small Disadvantaged Business, ([http://www.sba.gov/content/disadvantaged-businesses SBA-SDB)], and exclusive owner of the only US-based .ECO® trademark.<ref>[https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=3716170&caseSearchType=US_APPLICATION&caseType=DEFAULT&searchType=statusSearch .ECO U.S. Trademark, Registrant planet.ECO LLC. Retrieved 03 Nov 2015.]</ref>
[http://www.mindsandmachines.com/tag/dot-eco/ Dot Eco, MindsAndMachines.com]</ref>  
 
  
[[Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd.]], the parent company of Minds + Machines which held 25% stake on Dot Eco LLC, confirmed that the company will apply for the .eco gTLD. [[Peter Dengate Thrush]], Executive Chairman of Top Level Domain Holdings said,''"...We believe the Dot Eco LLC consortium is exceptionally well placed to compete in every respect of its .eco application and run that gTLD in a meaningful manner. We are therefore delighted to continue give it our full infrastructural and financial support."'' <ref>
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4. [[Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd.]] (TLDH) - one of 68 gTLD applications submitted by the company. This applicant submitted a [[PIC|Public Interest Commitment]], which can be downloaded [https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1523 here].
[http://www.investegate.co.uk/Article.aspx?id=201109300700572363P Top Level Domain Hdg. Dot Eco LLC will apply for .eco gTLD]</ref> However, they did not apply through the Dot Eco LLC venture, but instead applied on their own behalf.<ref>[http://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/viewstatus Application Status, gTLDResult.ICANN.org]</ref> Antony Van Couvering previously stated that applying for a community gTLD is too risky. He believes that the .eco TLD will not pass ICANN's Community Priority Evaluation, which means the company's application for .eco TLD will not be under community gTLD category.<ref>[http://www.circleid.com/posts/will_anyone_qualify_as_a_community_tld/ Will Anyone Qualify As a Community TLD?]</ref>
 
  
[[planet.ECO, LLC]], a company based in Connecticut and trademark holder of .eco and a possible applicant for the .eco string filed an infringement case against Big Room Inc. and Dot Eco LLC on March 2, 2012. The complainant asked the court to order Big Room and Dot Eco LLC to stop submitting further documentation and withdraw their application for the .eco string with ICANN. Dot Eco LLC responded to the complaint with an argument that the trademark was obtained illegally by Planet.eco and it should be cancelled by the court. Dot Eco also argued that the complainant is is trying to prevent competition. On the other hand, Big Room filed a motion to dismiss because of lack of jurisdiction. <ref> Both parties, Big Room Inc. and Dot Eco LLC, also filed a similar complaint to the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, then later withdrew.
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===Application History===
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.eco was one of the most publicly contested gTLD applications. By early 2009 [[Big Room Inc.]] and Dot Eco LLC had declared their intent to apply for .eco<ref>http://blogs.ft.com/tech-blog/2009/06/a-eco-echo-in-green-domain-bid/</ref>. Dot Eco LLC was endorsed by Al Gore, the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation, but eventually chose not to seek community status<ref>https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1523</ref>. Big Room Inc. was initially endorsed by Green Cross International and WWF International.
  
[http://www.rfcexpress.com/lawsuits/trademark-lawsuits/california-central-district-court/91343/planet-eco-llc-v-big-room-inc-et-al/summary/ Planet.Eco LLC v. Big Room Inc. et al]</ref> <ref>[http://www.remarksblog.com/internet/as-gtld-window-closes-legal-disputes-heat/ AS GTLD WINDOW CLOSES, LEGAL DISPUTES HEAT UP: RIVAL.ECO APPLICANTS SPAR IN CALIFORNIA]</ref> <ref>
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In August 2009, Dot Eco LLC released a 'green paper' critiquing Big Room's approach. Big Room did not respond to the critique other than that it was  'unfortunate'.<ref>[http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8199802.stm Green Domain Sparks War of Words, BBCNews.com]</ref> Media characterization of the conflict generated significant press coverage, ranging from the New York Times<ref>https://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/comapnies-vie-for-control-of-dot-eco/</ref> to the Financial Times<ref>http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b5fb21a4-79a6-11df-85be-00144feabdc0.html?ft_site=falcon&desktop=true#axzz4XZRTEdfB</ref>. Following this, in 2011, Al Gore withdrew support for Dot Eco LLC. A spokesman explained that they had decided to focus on global climate issues.<ref>[http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2112810/al-gore-mikhail-gorbachev-control-eco-domain Al Gore Mikhail Gorbachev Control Eco Domain, BusinessGreen.com]</ref> Despite losing Gore's support, Dot Eco LLC maintained its intention to submit a .eco application. TLDH eventually acquired Dot Eco LLC and then applied for .eco without requesting community priority<ref>https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1523</ref>
[http://domainincite.com/three-way-legal-fight-over-eco-breaks-out/ Three-way legal fight over .eco breaks out]</ref>
 
  
===Early Criticism===
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In the interim, Big Room's proposal had gathered the support of more than 50 of the world's leading environmental organizations, including UN Environment, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, WWF, Greenpeace, and many others<ref>https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/26/battle-dot-eco-domain-name-internet-green-groups</ref>. These groups had collaborated independently on developing a unified vision for how .eco could support the interests of the community<ref>https://dotecocouncil.org/history/</ref>. This vision formed the backbone of the community section of Big Room's .eco application.
There has been early speculation by Matthew Rimmer, an academic from the Australian National University that the creation of a .eco TLD, while potentially helping some ecological causes, could have the effect of "greenwashing" non-eco-friendly companies and efforts. Greenwashing is defined as companies making deceptive or misleading claims that their services and products are environmentally friendly.<ref>[http://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/academic-sets-sights-eco-label-080457302.html Academic Sets Sights Eco Label, Au.Finance.Yahoo.com]</ref> That academic has stated that it is essential that ICANN award the dot eco bid with strong enviromental credentials and support to deter green washing. [https://twitter.com/#!/DrRimmer/status/167413957861195776]
 
  
==European Commission Communiqué==
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In 2012 it was revealed that four companies applied for .eco - Big Room, Donuts, Planet.eco and TLDH. Of these, only Big Room sought community designation. All applicants passed initial financial, technical and operational evaluation, except for Planet.eco, which failed, scoring 1/12 points<ref>https://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/ier/pt42qvwk2iuro7ami3jgke2i/ie-1-1710-92415-en.pdf
The [[European Commission]] flagged all applications for .eco outside of ICANN's defined remediation processes.
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</ref>. Planet.eco then sought extended evaluation, which it passed<ref>https://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/eer/gl3khaf7ucheu7ro4hieth0e/ee-1-1710-92415-en.pdf</ref>. Planet.eco then filed a limited rights objection against TLDH, which failed. Big Room Inc. then elected to undertake community priority evaluation, which it passed.<ref>https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/09/dot-eco-domain-name-environmentalists-icann-control</ref> 
  
Just after [[ICANN]]'s [[GAC]] issued its Early Warnings, which are advice given from one GAC member country to an applicant warning it of potential issues within its application, the [[European Commission]] issued a letter to all applicants within the [[New gTLD Program|new gTLD program]]. The letter highlights 58 applications that "could raise issues of compatibility with the existing legislation .. and/or with policy positions and objectives of the European Union." It notes a desire to open a dialogue with each offending applicant.
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Donuts and TLDH then filed a reconsideration request to the ICANN Board, attempting to reverse this decision. The Board rejected the request. The rejection was then appealed to an independent panel, which also rejected the attempt. No applicant contested the ICANN Board's adoption of the panel's decision.  
  
The Commission specifically notes that this objection is not a part of the GAC Early Warning process, and goes on to note that "the Commission does not consider itself legally bound to [ICANN] processes," given that there is not legal agreement between the two bodies.<ref>[http://domainincite.com/docs/20121127093808906.pdf DomainIncite.com/Docs] Published 27 Nov 2012, Retrieved 11 Dec 2012</ref><ref>[http://domainincite.com/11130-europe-rejects-icanns-authority-as-it-warns-of-problems-with-58-new-gtlds Europe Rejects ICANNs Authority As it Warns of Problems with 58 New gTLDs, DomainIncite.com] Published 27 Nov 2012, Retrieved 11 Dec 2012</ref>
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As a result, following a four year evaluation and appeals process, Big Room now operates the .eco registry. 
==Iranian IGO Complaints==
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An mulitnational Iranian IGO, the Economic Cooperative Organization, sent a letter of complaint to ICANN in February 2013 given that they use the 'eco' acronym for their work. In its letter it states that it “expresses its disapproval and non-endorsement to all the applications for .ECO gTLD and requests the ICANN and the new gTLD application evaluators to not approve these applications.”<ref>[http://domainincite.com/11934-iranian-org-not-happy-about-eco-bids Iranian Org Not Happy About Eco Bids, DomainIncite.com] Published & Retrieved 20 Feb 2013</ref>
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=== planet .ECO Trademark Litigation ===
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Separate to the .eco application contention, planet .ECO filed a trademark infringement case against Big Room Inc. and Dot Eco LLC on March 2, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Southern California. The complainant asked the court to order Big Room and Dot Eco LLC to stop infringing on their mark and force plaintiffs to withdraw their .eco gTLD applications. Dot Eco LLC responded to the complaint with an argument that the trademark was obtained illegally by Planet.ECO and that it should therefore be cancelled by the court. Big Room filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. That motion was granted. planet .ECO subsequently withdrew the case against Dot Eco LLC.
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Subsequent to this litigation, five cancellation actions have been commenced against planet .ECO's .ECO mark. All were dismissed without prejudice.<ref>[http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92051924&pty=CAN&eno=21 USPTO Cancellation number 92051924]</ref><ref>[http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92055469&pty=CAN&eno=11 USPTO Cancellation number 92055469]</ref><ref>[http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92055197&pty=CAN&eno=13 USPTO Cancellation number 92055197]</ref><ref>[http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92060403&pty=CAN&eno=12 USPTO Cancellation number 92060403]</ref><ref>[http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92060403&pty=CAN&eno=18 USPTO Cancellation number 92060403]</ref>
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===European Commission Communiqué to ICANN===
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The [[European Commission]] flagged all applications for .eco outside of ICANN's defined remediation processes. Just after [[ICANN]]'s [[GAC]] issued its Early Warnings, which are advice given from one GAC member country to an applicant warning it of potential issues within its application, the [[European Commission]] issued a letter to all applicants within the [[New gTLD Program|new gTLD program]]. The letter highlights 58 applications that "could raise issues of compatibility with the existing legislation .. and/or with policy positions and objectives of the European Union." It notes a desire to open a dialogue with each offending applicant. Big Room entered into a dialogue and as a result of those conversations - and in dialogue with the environmental community - updated its PIC spec to include specific references to issues raised by the Commission. The Commission specifically noted that this objection is not a part of the GAC Early Warning process, and goes on to note that "the Commission does not consider itself legally bound to [ICANN] processes," given that there is not legal agreement between the two bodies.<ref>[http://domainincite.com/docs/20121127093808906.pdf DomainIncite.com/Docs] Published 27 Nov 2012, Retrieved 11 Dec 2012</ref><ref>[http://domainincite.com/11130-europe-rejects-icanns-authority-as-it-warns-of-problems-with-58-new-gtlds Europe Rejects ICANNs Authority As it Warns of Problems with 58 New gTLDs, DomainIncite.com] Published 27 Nov 2012, Retrieved 11 Dec 2012</ref>  
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===Economic Cooperation Organization Complaint to ICANN===
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An international governmental organization, the Economic Cooperation Organization, sent a letter of complaint to ICANN in February 2013 given that they use the 'eco' acronym for their work. In its letter the ECO states that it “expresses its disapproval and non-endorsement to all the applications for the .eco gTLD and requests the ICANN and the new gTLD application evaluators to not approve these applications.”<ref>[http://domainincite.com/11934-iranian-org-not-happy-about-eco-bids Iranian Org Not Happy About Eco Bids, DomainIncite.com] Published & Retrieved 20 Feb 2013</ref>. However, neither the Economic Cooperation Organization nor any of its member states objected to any .eco application via the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee or as part of the new gTLD program. ICANN did not therefore act on this request, since it was not made through the organization's multi-stakeholder process.
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===planet .ECO Legal Rights Objection Against Top Level Domain Holdings===
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A [[Legal Rights Objection]] was filed by the applicant planet .ECO, LLC, against applicant [[Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd.]].<ref>[http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/lro/cases/ LRO Cases, WIPO.int]</ref> The objection was rejected by a [[WIPO]] panelist on August 26, 2013.<ref name="wipo">[http://www.wipo.int/export/sites/www/amc/en/domains/lro/docs/lro2013-0053.pdf Expert Determination - Legal Rights Objection, planet .ECO, LLC v. TLDH PDF]</ref> The Determination noted: "However, even assuming that, in view of the substantial identity of the applied-for string and the mark .ECO, there could be a likelihood of confusion between the two, the Panel finds that it would not be “impermissible”, since there is no evidence that the public would perceive it as a source identifier as opposed to as a descriptive term or prefix relating to ecology or environment."
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===Big Room Inc. Community Priority Evaluation ===
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On 6 October 2014 the Economist Intelligence Unit, ICANN's community priority evaluator, awarded Big Room Inc.'s .eco application priority<ref>https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/09/dot-eco-domain-name-environmentalists-icann-control</ref>, [https://www.icann.org/sites/default/files/tlds/eco/eco-cpe-1-912-59314-en.pdf scoring the application 14/16 points]. In its evaluation the evaluation panel noted:
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Many of the major catalysts of the modern environmental movement have continued or worsened in recent years, and the organizations founded with missions of environmental advocacy have redoubled their efforts. The number and breadth of environmental laws and protocols will continue to grow.
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The effects of climate change are especially long-term and many of the organizations in the application’s delineated community advocate for long-term solutions and measures that they have committed to seeing through. The Panel has therefore determined that the community as defined in the application demonstrates longevity.
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The pursuits of the .ECO community are of a lasting, non-transient nature. In addition, as mentioned previously, the community as defined in the application has awareness and recognition of a community among its members. This is because the community is defined in terms of its association with, and active participation in, environmental activities.
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Its members are actively committed to environmental causes, such as sustainable use of the environment and environmental conservation and preservation. 
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=== Donuts and TLDH use of ICANN Accountability Mechanisms ===
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On October 24, 2014, approximately 2 weeks after passing the community priority evaluation, the contention set status was changed to "on-hold" pending the resolution of ICANN accountability mechanisms, including a reconsideration request<ref>https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/14-46-2014-10-22-en</ref> submitted by Little Birch, LLC (Donuts) and Minds + Machines Group Limited (née Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd). On 18 November 2014 the ICANN Board issued a [https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/determination-little-birch-minds-machines-18nov14-en.pdf final determination] denying this reconsideration request.
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On February 20, 2015 Big Room Inc. also submitted a reconsideration request <ref>[https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/reconsideration-15-2-big-room-inc-2015-02-23-en]</ref> to ICANN pertaining to delays associated with the [[Cooperative Engagement Process]]. The request stated: "Big Room Inc. (“Big Room”) respectfully requests Board reconsideration of ICANN staff inaction in connection with its failure to terminate the ongoing Cooperative Engagement Process (“CEP”) pertaining to the .ECO generic top-level domain (gTLD) subject matter." The request was withdrawn prior to ICANN Board consideration of the matter as a result of the CEP being terminated.
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Subsequently, an [[independent review panel]] was convened to consider whether the ICANN Board Governance Committee acted appropriately in issuing a final determination<ref>[[https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/determination-little-birch-minds-machines-18nov14-en.pdf ICANN - Final Determination, Nov. 18, 2014]</ref> denying planet.ECO's reconsideration request.<ref>[[https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/various-v-icann-eco-hotel-2015-09-02-en ICANN Case Record - .eco and .hotel]</ref>
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A hearing was held on December 7 2015. A final declaration was issued on February 12 2016. <ref name="IRP">https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/irp-despegar-online-et-al-final-declaration-12feb16-en.pdf</ref> The determination upheld Big Room's .eco application CPE evaluation result, noting: "And, "[a]s for the .eco IRP, it is clear that the Reconsideration Request [14-46] was misconceived and was little more than an attempt to appeal the CPE decision. Again, therefore, the .eco IRP was always going to fail." (Final Declaration at ¶ 156.)"<ref name="IRP" /> 
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The ICANN Board adopted the final declaration March 10 2016 <ref>https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2016-03-10-en</ref>. After a board member expressed concern that the March 10th adoption of the final declaration might have been subject to procedural irregularities, the ICANN Board issued a second resolution on May 27, 2016 reconfirming adoption of the final declaration.<ref>[https://features.icann.org/reconfirming-board-resolution-hotel-and-eco-irp-declaration Reconfirming the Board Resolution regarding .hotel and .eco, May 27, 2016]</ref>
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=== Delegation to Big Room Inc. ===
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The .eco gTLD was delegated by IANA on August 29th, 2016 with [[Big Room Inc.]] as the [[Sponsoring Organization]].<ref>[https://www.iana.org/domains/root/db/eco.html IANA Delegation Record]</ref><ref>[https://www.icann.org/resources/agreement/eco-2016-07-08-en Registry Agreement - Big Room Inc. & ICANN]</ref>  
  
 
==References==
 
==References==

Latest revision as of 18:00, 20 January 2021

.eco is a generic top level domain for use by "any business, government, non-profit or individual working toward a sustainable future."[1]. The TLD is operated by Big Room Inc. a certified B Corporation.

Activation Requirements

The .eco TLD has established baseline requirements for those who wish to register .eco domain names. Applicants for .eco domains must establish a profile with the registry, identify the "areas of sustainability" that the applicant is focused on, and "pledge to support positive change for the planet and to be honest when sharing information on environmental actions."[2]

Launch

The .eco domain was launched via a 60 day end date sunrise for registrants of ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse, followed by a two week quiet period.

Public launch began with a 7 day early access period, followed by general availability.

Key launch dates:

  • February 1 - April 2, 2017 - Sunrise (end-date)
  • April 18 - 25, 2017 - Early Access Program
  • April 25, 2017 - General Availability

Domain Granting Program

In September 2016, Big Room announced that it would be granting up to 500 domains to the environmental community. The grants would form a permanent reserved list of domains only accessible to environmental non-profits.

Over 350 organizations from 50 countries expressed their views on what names should be reserved for community use.

Application History & Controversies

Original Applicants

Prevailing Applicant

1. Big Room Inc. - The only community-priority application. This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.

Other Applicants

2. Donuts (Little Birch, LLC) - one of 307 gTLD applications submitted by the company. This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.

3. planet.ECO LLC - A US-based Small Disadvantaged Business, (SBA-SDB), and exclusive owner of the only US-based .ECO® trademark.[3]

4. Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd. (TLDH) - one of 68 gTLD applications submitted by the company. This applicant submitted a Public Interest Commitment, which can be downloaded here.

Application History

.eco was one of the most publicly contested gTLD applications. By early 2009 Big Room Inc. and Dot Eco LLC had declared their intent to apply for .eco[4]. Dot Eco LLC was endorsed by Al Gore, the Alliance for Climate Protection, the Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation, but eventually chose not to seek community status[5]. Big Room Inc. was initially endorsed by Green Cross International and WWF International.

In August 2009, Dot Eco LLC released a 'green paper' critiquing Big Room's approach. Big Room did not respond to the critique other than that it was 'unfortunate'.[6] Media characterization of the conflict generated significant press coverage, ranging from the New York Times[7] to the Financial Times[8]. Following this, in 2011, Al Gore withdrew support for Dot Eco LLC. A spokesman explained that they had decided to focus on global climate issues.[9] Despite losing Gore's support, Dot Eco LLC maintained its intention to submit a .eco application. TLDH eventually acquired Dot Eco LLC and then applied for .eco without requesting community priority[10].

In the interim, Big Room's proposal had gathered the support of more than 50 of the world's leading environmental organizations, including UN Environment, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, WWF, Greenpeace, and many others[11]. These groups had collaborated independently on developing a unified vision for how .eco could support the interests of the community[12]. This vision formed the backbone of the community section of Big Room's .eco application.

In 2012 it was revealed that four companies applied for .eco - Big Room, Donuts, Planet.eco and TLDH. Of these, only Big Room sought community designation. All applicants passed initial financial, technical and operational evaluation, except for Planet.eco, which failed, scoring 1/12 points[13]. Planet.eco then sought extended evaluation, which it passed[14]. Planet.eco then filed a limited rights objection against TLDH, which failed. Big Room Inc. then elected to undertake community priority evaluation, which it passed.[15]

Donuts and TLDH then filed a reconsideration request to the ICANN Board, attempting to reverse this decision. The Board rejected the request. The rejection was then appealed to an independent panel, which also rejected the attempt. No applicant contested the ICANN Board's adoption of the panel's decision.

As a result, following a four year evaluation and appeals process, Big Room now operates the .eco registry.

planet .ECO Trademark Litigation

Separate to the .eco application contention, planet .ECO filed a trademark infringement case against Big Room Inc. and Dot Eco LLC on March 2, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Southern California. The complainant asked the court to order Big Room and Dot Eco LLC to stop infringing on their mark and force plaintiffs to withdraw their .eco gTLD applications. Dot Eco LLC responded to the complaint with an argument that the trademark was obtained illegally by Planet.ECO and that it should therefore be cancelled by the court. Big Room filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. That motion was granted. planet .ECO subsequently withdrew the case against Dot Eco LLC.

Subsequent to this litigation, five cancellation actions have been commenced against planet .ECO's .ECO mark. All were dismissed without prejudice.[16][17][18][19][20]

European Commission Communiqué to ICANN

The European Commission flagged all applications for .eco outside of ICANN's defined remediation processes. Just after ICANN's GAC issued its Early Warnings, which are advice given from one GAC member country to an applicant warning it of potential issues within its application, the European Commission issued a letter to all applicants within the new gTLD program. The letter highlights 58 applications that "could raise issues of compatibility with the existing legislation .. and/or with policy positions and objectives of the European Union." It notes a desire to open a dialogue with each offending applicant. Big Room entered into a dialogue and as a result of those conversations - and in dialogue with the environmental community - updated its PIC spec to include specific references to issues raised by the Commission. The Commission specifically noted that this objection is not a part of the GAC Early Warning process, and goes on to note that "the Commission does not consider itself legally bound to [ICANN] processes," given that there is not legal agreement between the two bodies.[21][22]

Economic Cooperation Organization Complaint to ICANN

An international governmental organization, the Economic Cooperation Organization, sent a letter of complaint to ICANN in February 2013 given that they use the 'eco' acronym for their work. In its letter the ECO states that it “expresses its disapproval and non-endorsement to all the applications for the .eco gTLD and requests the ICANN and the new gTLD application evaluators to not approve these applications.”[23]. However, neither the Economic Cooperation Organization nor any of its member states objected to any .eco application via the ICANN Governmental Advisory Committee or as part of the new gTLD program. ICANN did not therefore act on this request, since it was not made through the organization's multi-stakeholder process.

planet .ECO Legal Rights Objection Against Top Level Domain Holdings

A Legal Rights Objection was filed by the applicant planet .ECO, LLC, against applicant Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd..[24] The objection was rejected by a WIPO panelist on August 26, 2013.[25] The Determination noted: "However, even assuming that, in view of the substantial identity of the applied-for string and the mark .ECO, there could be a likelihood of confusion between the two, the Panel finds that it would not be “impermissible”, since there is no evidence that the public would perceive it as a source identifier as opposed to as a descriptive term or prefix relating to ecology or environment."

Big Room Inc. Community Priority Evaluation

On 6 October 2014 the Economist Intelligence Unit, ICANN's community priority evaluator, awarded Big Room Inc.'s .eco application priority[26], scoring the application 14/16 points. In its evaluation the evaluation panel noted:

Many of the major catalysts of the modern environmental movement have continued or worsened in recent years, and the organizations founded with missions of environmental advocacy have redoubled their efforts. The number and breadth of environmental laws and protocols will continue to grow.

The effects of climate change are especially long-term and many of the organizations in the application’s delineated community advocate for long-term solutions and measures that they have committed to seeing through. The Panel has therefore determined that the community as defined in the application demonstrates longevity.

The pursuits of the .ECO community are of a lasting, non-transient nature. In addition, as mentioned previously, the community as defined in the application has awareness and recognition of a community among its members. This is because the community is defined in terms of its association with, and active participation in, environmental activities.

Its members are actively committed to environmental causes, such as sustainable use of the environment and environmental conservation and preservation. 

Donuts and TLDH use of ICANN Accountability Mechanisms

On October 24, 2014, approximately 2 weeks after passing the community priority evaluation, the contention set status was changed to "on-hold" pending the resolution of ICANN accountability mechanisms, including a reconsideration request[27] submitted by Little Birch, LLC (Donuts) and Minds + Machines Group Limited (née Top Level Domain Holdings Ltd). On 18 November 2014 the ICANN Board issued a final determination denying this reconsideration request.

On February 20, 2015 Big Room Inc. also submitted a reconsideration request [28] to ICANN pertaining to delays associated with the Cooperative Engagement Process. The request stated: "Big Room Inc. (“Big Room”) respectfully requests Board reconsideration of ICANN staff inaction in connection with its failure to terminate the ongoing Cooperative Engagement Process (“CEP”) pertaining to the .ECO generic top-level domain (gTLD) subject matter." The request was withdrawn prior to ICANN Board consideration of the matter as a result of the CEP being terminated.

Subsequently, an independent review panel was convened to consider whether the ICANN Board Governance Committee acted appropriately in issuing a final determination[29] denying planet.ECO's reconsideration request.[30]

A hearing was held on December 7 2015. A final declaration was issued on February 12 2016. [31] The determination upheld Big Room's .eco application CPE evaluation result, noting: "And, "[a]s for the .eco IRP, it is clear that the Reconsideration Request [14-46] was misconceived and was little more than an attempt to appeal the CPE decision. Again, therefore, the .eco IRP was always going to fail." (Final Declaration at ¶ 156.)"[31]

The ICANN Board adopted the final declaration March 10 2016 [32]. After a board member expressed concern that the March 10th adoption of the final declaration might have been subject to procedural irregularities, the ICANN Board issued a second resolution on May 27, 2016 reconfirming adoption of the final declaration.[33]

Delegation to Big Room Inc.

The .eco gTLD was delegated by IANA on August 29th, 2016 with Big Room Inc. as the Sponsoring Organization.[34][35]

References

  1. Go.eco
  2. [https://support.go.eco/en/articles/578589-what-questions-do-i-need-to-answer-in-my-eco-profile Go.eco - What questions do I need to answer in my .eco profile?
  3. .ECO U.S. Trademark, Registrant planet.ECO LLC. Retrieved 03 Nov 2015.
  4. http://blogs.ft.com/tech-blog/2009/06/a-eco-echo-in-green-domain-bid/
  5. https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1523
  6. Green Domain Sparks War of Words, BBCNews.com
  7. https://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/29/comapnies-vie-for-control-of-dot-eco/
  8. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b5fb21a4-79a6-11df-85be-00144feabdc0.html?ft_site=falcon&desktop=true#axzz4XZRTEdfB
  9. Al Gore Mikhail Gorbachev Control Eco Domain, BusinessGreen.com
  10. https://gtldresult.icann.org/application-result/applicationstatus/applicationdetails/1523
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jun/26/battle-dot-eco-domain-name-internet-green-groups
  12. https://dotecocouncil.org/history/
  13. https://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/ier/pt42qvwk2iuro7ami3jgke2i/ie-1-1710-92415-en.pdf
  14. https://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/eer/gl3khaf7ucheu7ro4hieth0e/ee-1-1710-92415-en.pdf
  15. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/09/dot-eco-domain-name-environmentalists-icann-control
  16. USPTO Cancellation number 92051924
  17. USPTO Cancellation number 92055469
  18. USPTO Cancellation number 92055197
  19. USPTO Cancellation number 92060403
  20. USPTO Cancellation number 92060403
  21. DomainIncite.com/Docs Published 27 Nov 2012, Retrieved 11 Dec 2012
  22. Europe Rejects ICANNs Authority As it Warns of Problems with 58 New gTLDs, DomainIncite.com Published 27 Nov 2012, Retrieved 11 Dec 2012
  23. Iranian Org Not Happy About Eco Bids, DomainIncite.com Published & Retrieved 20 Feb 2013
  24. LRO Cases, WIPO.int
  25. Expert Determination - Legal Rights Objection, planet .ECO, LLC v. TLDH PDF
  26. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/09/dot-eco-domain-name-environmentalists-icann-control
  27. https://www.icann.org/resources/pages/14-46-2014-10-22-en
  28. [1]
  29. [ICANN - Final Determination, Nov. 18, 2014
  30. [ICANN Case Record - .eco and .hotel
  31. 31.0 31.1 https://www.icann.org/en/system/files/files/irp-despegar-online-et-al-final-declaration-12feb16-en.pdf
  32. https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2016-03-10-en
  33. Reconfirming the Board Resolution regarding .hotel and .eco, May 27, 2016
  34. IANA Delegation Record
  35. Registry Agreement - Big Room Inc. & ICANN