On Wednesday, a US Congress Subcommittee held a Hearing on .Expansion of Top Level Domain Names and its Effects of Competition.. Members of the US House of Representatives questioned [names and organizations] whether the Internet climate is ready to accept an unlimited number of new gTLDs. At the heart of the discussions was trademark protection.

Doug Brent said that expansion of the root has been part of ICANN’s mission since the beginning. New gTLDs will help registrant choice, competition generally, and serve the rest of the world with IDNs. He also said that the policies and procedures for the new gTLDs have been in development at ICANN for years . and came up through the GNSO process, with ICANN community involvement.

Richard Heath, President of the International Trademark Association, said that new gTLDs are: linked to increased crime, threaten health and safety, tarnish existing trademarks, and are only being done to get the money from defensive registrations. No support for new gTLDs here.

Paul Stahura, Founder of eNom, wants to register new gTLDs. He said that there is consumer demand for new gTLDs and they will create competition in price, service, and offerings. He wants no further delay . it is definitely time for ICANN to move forward! He that it would be unfair for ICANN to roll out IDNs without rolling out new gTLDs in English . to have a .BLOG in Chinese and not in English, for example.

Steve DelBianco represented NetChoice, a coalition in which Verisign is a member. He said that no new gTLDs are needed now except IDNs. .With almost 200 million registered domains today, it is hard to see how choice is constrained in any meaningful way…. He said ICANN should enable IDNs before expanding Latin gTLDs– but only IDNs for .country-code domains controlled by governments..

Some news on the IRT Report emerged at the hearing. According to Doug Brent.s testimony, the ICANN Board will be sending the recommendation on the IP Clearinghouse and the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) back to the GNSO for review; it appears that the Globally Protected Marks List (GPML) will altogether disappear.

Of course, nothing is certain, but the fact that there is even the thinnest chance for this, shows that the joined efforts of NCUC with ALAC have paid off. NCUC members have been at the forefront of efforts in Sydney, New York City, London, Hong Kong, meetings in Washington DC and Beijing, to raise issues, concerns, and alternatives.

We worked hard to bring many different parties and views to table — and when the ICANN Community listens, that is a cause for celebration. It is a “win” for the process, a “win” for ICANN, and a “win” for community input (a key pillar of ICANN).

Kathy and Konstantinos


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