Applicant envisages to undertake considerable effort with regard to the protection of geographic names on the second level of the .brussels gTLD. Given that the applied for gTLD is in itself matching with the territory of an important geographic region in Belgium and its capital city, and is supported by the relevant Government of that territory, it would be very problematic to overlook the protection of geographic names within the proposed gTLD and to omit the creation of rules and procedures related to the release and⁄or reservation of such names.
Applicant wants to foresee three distinct levels of protection:
1) Protective measures installed prior to the start of operations;
2) Protection during the multi-phased Sunrise Period;
3) Procedures providing protection after the start of the registrations on “first come, first served” base.
The proposed measures for protection refer to the principles laid down in Specification 5 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement, those described in the GAC’s document “Principles regarding New gTLD’s” and current practices already in place for the .be ccTLD.
Protective measures installed prior to the start of operations
Applicant wants to deploy a number of protective measures concerning geographic names prior to the start of the Sunrise Period and – in a later phase – the normal registrations on “first come, first served” base. It is the intention to maintain these protective measures even after a number of years will have elapsed since the start of normal registrations in the gTLD. The proposed measures involve the blocking of certain geographic names and strings.
Applicant will exclude certain names from registration and will provide clear and detailed provisions in the Registration Terms & Conditions. Specifically with regard to geographic names and references, Applicant wishes to reserve or block all 2-character labels. A large number of possible 2-character labels matches with previously defined ISO 2-character descriptions for country codes. Other possible 2-character labels have no country code counterpart but it is not excluded that new country codes will be attributed by the ISO Maintenance Agency in the future. It is therefore appropriate to extend the level of protection in order to prevent potential conflicts in the future. This can be achieved by reserving or blocking all 2-character labels. In accordance with Specification 5 of the proposed gTLD Registry Agreement, Applicant will only release possible 2-character names to registrants that can demonstrate authorization (or a formal no objection statement) from the relevant Government or ccTLD registry manager that is corresponding with the 2-character label.
Applicant will also exclude from registration on second level (and - if applicable - on any other level within the TLD that would be under operation of Applicant) the following names:
- Short form country and territory names contained on the ISO 3166-1 list, including the European Union. All names on the version of the ISO 3166-1 list available at the time of establishing the exclusion list, will be integrated. Further names could be added, provided that they have not already been registered before being added to the ISO 3166-1 list;
- Names of countries that appear in the Technical Reference Manual for the Standardization of Geographical Names of the United Nations;
- Names of the United Nations member states in the 6 official UN languages (in as much as this is applicable for .brussels which will not allow registrations in other scripts than Latin).
Applicant does not seek to block those country and territory names on a permanent base. In strict conformity with the provisions of Specification 5 of the new gTLD Registry Agreement, such names could be delegated to anyone who applies for them, provided that agreement is reached with the relevant government or if specific policy procedures would be adopted by ICANN upon review of the GAC.
Protection during the multi-phased Sunrise Period
Applicant envisages a multi-phased Sunrise Period that goes beyond the sole protection of trademark holders. During the first phase of the Sunrise Period local governments and government entities, public authorities and intergovernmental organizations will have the opportunity to apply for domain name registrations that are matching with their names (geographical name or name of organization) or acronyms.
Alternatively and subject to discussions with the Government of the Brussels Region, Applicant could provide a pre-Sunrise Phase for above mentioned category of right holders in order to avoid any collision with trademark holders wishing to apply for identical domain names during the first phase of the Sunrise Period.
Procedures providing protection after the start of the registrations on “first come, first served” base
Finally, it should be noted that Applicant wants to implement a UDRP mechanism with broad scope and low access. Applicant has put in place an innovative and efficient UDRP system for the .be ccTLD and would like to import its benefits for the new proposed gTLD. Among other things, the UDRP for .be offers governments equal rights to initiate procedures and claim back domain names upon which they can vest certain rights as to holders of trademarks. In that perspective it is noteworthy to mention that the Belgian Federal Government managed to claim back the domain name belgie.be (country name of Belgium in Dutch language). The same possibilities exist for governments of all levels as well as other public authorities with regard to the protection or recovery of domain names matching with their geographic name, name of organization, acronym or other protected right under the rules for the .be alternative dispute resolution procedures.