The ICANN policy development process involves a number of ICANN-community organisations as part of its “multistakeholder” policy development model. The Generic Name Supporting Organization (GNSO) is responsible for developing and recommending to the ICANN Board substantive policies relating to generic top-level domains. The BRG, as an Associate Member of ICANN’s Registries Stakeholders Group and as a separate entity to ICANN, follows and directly comments on polices being developed within the GNSO.

There are a number of Advisory Committees to support ICANN policy making, including the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) providing advice related to concerns of governments, particularly matters where there may be an interaction between ICANN’s policies and various laws and international agreements or where they may affect public policy issues.

Find out more about ICANN policy on ICANN’s website.


New Generic Top-Level Domain Subsequent Procedures

Relevance to dotBrands – High. Policy and implementation changes will impact future dotBrand applicants. Changes may also impact existing dotBrand registries, particularly consensus policies that affect the ICANN Registry Agreement.

The PDP on New Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) Subsequent Procedures, initiated in December 2015 and chartered in January 2016, is intended to determine what, if any, changes need to be made to the existing policy recommendations from the 2007 Final Report on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains, such as:

  • Clarifying, amending, or overriding existing policy principles, recommendations, and implementation guidance
  • Developing new policy recommendations
  • Supplementing or developing new implementation guidance

Existing policy recommendations adopted by the GNSO Council and ICANN Board have “been designed to produce a systemised and ongoing mechanisms for applicants to propose new top-level domains.” It means that these recommendations would remain in place unless the PDP working group determines that changes are needed.

ICANN maintains a public wiki for this PDP to help you track the working group’s activities: community.icann.org/x/RgV1Aw

Next-Generation Registration Directory Service to Replace ‘WHOIS’

Relevance to dotBrands – Medium. This will change the way registration data is stored and accessed, replacing the current WHOIS with Registration Directory Services (RDS). For the majority of dotBrands, changes are likely to impact the back-end registry provider supporting the dotBrand registry.

In April 2015, the ICANN Board requested to initiate a GNSO Policy PDP. The goal is to “define the purpose of collecting, maintaining, and providing access to gTLD registration data, and consider safeguards for protecting data”. The Board also asked the GNSO to “[use] the recommendations in the Expert Working Group (EWG) Final Report as an input to, and, if appropriate, as the foundation for a new gTLD policy.”

Following the publication of the PDP Final Issue Report, the GNSO Council adopted the charter for the PDP WG, which commenced its deliberations at the end of January 2016. During the Phase 1 work, the WG has been tasked with providing the GNSO Council with recommendations on the following two questions:

(1) What are the fundamental requirements for gTLD registration data?

(2) Are a new policy framework and next-generation (next-gen) registration directory services (RDS) needed to address these requirements?

ICANN maintains a public wiki for this PDP to help you track the the working group’s activities: community.icann.org/x/rjJ-Ag

Review of Rights Protection Mechanisms in All Generic Top-Level Domains

Relevance to dotBrands – Medium. Any changes recommended to the existing Rights Protection Mechanisms may impact the operation of a dotBrand registry, including any obligations to perform Sunrise, provide Claims Notices or responding to disputes against domains you register under your dotBrand registry.

This Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPM) PDP is being conducted in two phases- Phase One covers all the RPMs applicable to gTLDs launched under the 2012 new gTLD program. These RPMs are: the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure, the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), the Sunrise and Trademark Claims services that are offered through the TMCH, and the Uniform Rapid Suspension dispute resolution procedure. Phase Two will focus on reviewing the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy, which has been an ICANN Consensus Policy since 1999. The WG is currently in Phase One, and hopes to complete this stage of work by mid-2018.

ICANN maintains a public wiki for this PDP to help you track the working group’s activities: community.icann.org/x/wCWAAw

IGOs and INGOs Access to Curative Rights Protection Mechanisms

Relevance to dotBrands – Medium. Any changes to the current policy could impact the obligations of a dotBrand registry to reserve (block) use of domain names matching IGO/INGO names.

This curative rights protection mechanisms PDP was initiated in June 2014 by the GNSO Council to consider whether existing curative rights mechanisms should be modified to address the needs of International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and International Non- Governmental Organizations (INGOs). Their needs are related to protection for their names and acronyms at the second-level of the domain name system, in both existing and new gTLDs. The existing mechanisms are, namely, the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy and Uniform Rapid Suspension dispute resolution procedure.

ICANN maintains a public wiki for this PDP to help you track the working group’s activities: community.icann.org/x/37rhAg