This week, CADNA counted a win in its ongoing effort to reform ICANN and its new gTLD policy. For quite some time now, CADNA has been working within ICANN (through public comment submissions and other communications), and raising public awareness, in order to delay the implementation of the new gTLD program until various issues surrounding trademark protection and the impact on businesses and consumers, have been resolved.
While speaking with Adam Smith of World Trademark Review, and again during his presentation at the McCarthy Institute Symposium, ICANN Chair Peter Dengate Thrush signaled that the new gTLD program may be further delayed. Referring to the upcoming ICANN meeting in San Francisco, he said in WTR, “We don’t think we’ll be able to approve the final applicant guidebook in March.” During the Symposium, he announced that the guidebook would actually be completed after the following ICANN meeting in Amman, Jordan, which will take place in June.
Dengate Thrush’s statements should encourage trademark owners, who remain concerned about various aspects of the guidebook and the new gTLD program in general. If Dengate Thrush is proven correct in his belief that the Board will not approve the guidebook, both the trademark community and the Internet community as a whole will have more time to work with ICANN to improve the gTLD policy. Though ICANN has been unresponsive thus far, a delay will give these groups more time to make their concerns and opinions heard.
Hopefully, this turn of events also indicates that the ICANN Board will be open to the advice from by the Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) during the meeting between the two groups scheduled for later this month.
A delay in the Board’s approval of the new gTLD applicant guidebook would be a significant victory for CADNA and for all those who have been working to make ICANN more transparent and accountable to its stakeholders.