IRT

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The Implementation Recommendation Team is a working group composed of international experts with relevant knowledge and experience in the field of consumer protection and trademark issues and laws. It was created by the Intellectual Property Constituency of the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO) in compliance with an ICANN Board Resolution on March 6, 2009. Its main objective was to develop recommendations that will help resolve the issues concerning trademark protection in connection with the introduction of new generic top level domain names (gTLDs). [1]

Background

The establishment of the IRT was a result of a public discussion regarding the implementation models of new gTLDs during the 34th ICANN Meeting in Mexico City on March 1-6, 2009. During the discussions, the IPC and different internet stakeholders voiced their concerns over trademark protection issues and the costs associated with the implementation of new gTLDs, which may discourage participation, such as the application fee of $135,000 stated in the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook. Subsequently, the ICANN Board authorized the creation of the IRT to tackle & identify the problems related to trademark protection and recommend solutions.[2]

The ICANN Board instructed the IRT to release its draft report to the Internet community on April 24, 2009 and the final report on May 24, 2009 for public comments.[3]

On March 24, 2009, IRT conducted its first administrative meeting (teleconference) and formulated its working rules and agenda for future meetings. The team's first face to face meeting was held in Washington D.C. on April 1-2, 2009. [4]

IRT Recommendations

The IRT identified high priority issues and recommended the following solutions to help solve the top concerns of Internet stake holders:[5]

  1. Creation of IP Clearinghouse, Globally Protected Marks Lists, Associated Rights Protection & Standardized Pre-launch Mechanisms
  2. ƒUniform Rapid Suspension System (URSS)
  3. Post delegation dispute resolution mechanisms at the top level
  4. Whois requirements for new TLDs
  5. Use of algorithm in string confusion review during initial evaluation

Members of IRT Team

The IRT was developed by 18 members of the IPC. Caroline G. Chicoine served as Chairman of the team. The members of the IRT include:[6]

Ex-Officio Members

ICA Complaints on IRT

On April 24, 2009, Philip Corwin, Counsel for Internet Commerce Association submitted a complaint against the operations of the IRT and requested ICANN Ombudsman Mr. Frank Fowlie to conduct an investigation. According to Corwin, the IRT had been conducting its activities unfairly and without transparency. He cited that the IRT members agreed on their March 25, 2009 meeting to provide general updates only to the internet community and that ideas may only be shared as long as it has no attribution. The mailing list and call records can only be accessed by IRT members. In addition, discussions of the IRT members during meetings were to be confidential with no distribution of MP3. Corwin added that during the subsequent meetings of the IRT, information provided to the internet community was superficial, and the chairman of the team even reminded its members about "IRT’s Code of Conduct and Confidentiality Obligations".[7] Corwin pointed out that IRT's actions are in clear violation of Article III Section 1 of the ICANN Bylaws, which reads: "ICANN and its constituent bodies shall operate to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner and consistent with procedures designed to ensure fairness".[8]

Furthermore, Corwin requested the ICANN Ombudsman to compel IRT to release its archived mailing list, audio recordings and transcripts of all its teleconferences and face-to-face meetings and to release an interest disclosure statements for all of its members. If IRT fails to follow the ICANN Bylaws, Corwin recommended that the internet governing body must instantly withdraw all financial and staff support to IRT and inform the team that its status has been cancelled due to its failure to implement fairness and transparency in its operations, which is one of the core values of ICANN.[9]

ICANN Ombudsman's Action to the IRT Complaint

References