As contemplated by the Trademark Clearinghouse Rights Protection Mechanism Requirements, a Qualified Launch Program may be developed. A draft of the Qualified Launch Program Addendum [PDF, 84 KB] (the "QLP Addendum") is being posted for comment to give the community an opportunity to review and provide feedback.
The draft QLP Addendum reflects ICANN's review and analysis regarding the feasibility of and implementation mechanics for a Qualified Launch Program as well as its potential impact on intellectual property rights. The Addendum is being posted to allow stakeholders to review and comment on the QLP Addendum.
The public comment period is on an accelerated timeline to enable follow-up consideration so that if the QLP is adopted, as many new TLD operators as possible can take advantage of it.
Public comment will be analyzed and taken into account by ICANN. If approved by ICANN following this process, the QLP Addendum will be automatically incorporated into the TMCH Requirements without any further action of ICANN or any Registry Operator. All Registry Operators will thereafter be permitted to have a Qualified Launch Program in accordance with the terms of the approved QLP Addendum, and will not need to seek ICANN's approval to implement the Qualified Launch Program.
Section I: Description, Explanation, and Purpose:
Section 3.2 of Specification 5 of the gTLD Registry Agreement allows a Registry Operator to register up to 100 domain names to itself. Section 4.5.1 of the Trademark Clearinghouse Rights Protection Mechanism Requirements (the "TMCH Requirements") contemplated the possibility, subject to ICANN's further review and analysis, that Registry Operators could offer a "Qualified Launch Program" in which they could register these domain names to third parties for the purposes of promoting their TLDs.
The Qualified Launch Program is intended to provide a mechanism for Registry Operators to register a limited number of names to third parties to promote their TLDs prior to the Sunrise period, while maintaining safeguards against intellectual property infringement. The draft is being published for comment to gather additional input from interested stakeholders.
Having conducted a review and analysis regarding the feasibility of and implementation mechanics for a Qualified Launch Program as well as its potential impact on intellectual property rights, ICANN has developed the attached QLP Addendum.
If approved, the QLP Addendum will allow a Registry Operator to register some or all of the 100 domain names referenced in Section 3.2 of Specification 5 to third parties prior to the Sunrise Period for the TLD under certain conditions. Under the proposed QLP Addendum, if a domain name under a Qualified Launch Program does not match a label registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), the domain name may be registered in a Qualified Launch Program to any third party. On the other hand, if the domain name does match a label in the TMCH, the domain name may only be registered to a Sunrise-Eligible Rights Holder (as defined in the TMCH Requirements) in the Qualified Launch Program. In the case of geographic TLDs, names may also be registered to public authorities under the Qualified Launch Program, subject to certain requirements. Each domain name registered in a Qualified Launch Program will reduce the number of domain names available to a Registry Operator under Section 3.2 of Specification 5.