Contracting & the Registry Agreement

Contracting Overview
Contract Execution Deadlines and Extensions
Registry Agreement
Specification 13
Registry Operator Code of Conduct
Contracting Statistics
Contracting Resources
Archive

News & Views

Announcement: 21 November 2014 – New Contracting Statistics Released

Announcement: 14 November 2014 – New Contracting Statistics Released

Announcement: 10 November 2014 – New Contracting Statistics Released


Contracting Overview

Contracting is a process by which eligible applicants enter into a Registry Agreement ("RA") with ICANN to operate the applied-for TLD. This process commences once the applicant successfully meets all of the following New gTLD Program requirements:

  • Pass application evaluation
  • Resolve contention
  • Completes objection dispute resolution
  • Clear GAC advice
  • Completes change requests

Once an applicant is eligible to commence the contracting process, ICANN will notify the applicant's primary contact via the Customer Service Portal. Notifications are sent by prioritization number. Included with the notification is a CIR Form that requests for certain information needed for drafting of the RA. It is important that applicants complete and submit the CIR Form promptly upon notification to avoid missing the 9-month deadline to execute a Registry Agreement. As per Section 5.1 of the Applicant Guidebook, "Eligible applicants are expected to have executed the registry agreement within nine (9) months of the notification date. Failure to do so may result in loss of eligibility, at ICANN's discretion." The Applicant Guidebook also provides for applicants to request an extension to the 9-month window to execute the Registry Agreement if the applicant "can demonstrate, to ICANNs reasonable satisfaction, that it is working diligently and in good faith toward successfully completing the steps necessary for entry into the registry agreement." To request for an extension, the contracting point of contact should complete and submits the Request for Extension to Execute Registry Agreement Form [DOCX, 567 KB].

To help applicants prepare for completion and submission of the CIR Form, ICANN has provided the following information:

Contracting will be completed once the RA is executed and the applicant will proceed to the next phase of Transition to Delegation known as Pre-Delegation Testing. Below is an overview of the contracting process. The graphic depicts a best-case scenario where there are no issues with the application. The cycle time is subject to change if volume of CIR response exceeds 40 per week. Please note that the below cycle time does not apply to applications that have been granted an extension to execute the Registry Agreement. For those applications that have been granted an extension to execute the Registry Agreement, ICANN will abide by the timelines provided in the extension notifications.

Contracting Cycle Chart

Contracting Deadlines and Extensions

On 3 September, ICANN published a "Requests for Extension to Execute New gTLD Registry Agreements" announcement. This announcement re-emphasizes that eligible applicants are expected to execute the Registry Agreement within nine (9) months of the notification date. The announcement also provides deadline dates to submit extension requests if the applicant would like to be eligible to receive an extension to execute the Registry Agreement.

The extension periods and the timelines to execute the Registry Agreement vary depending on the applicant's circumstances.

Scenario 1: The applicant meets the criteria to qualify as a .Brand TLD and receive an extension to 29 July 2015 to sign the Registry Agreement.

Deadline Activity
1 September 2014 Applicant submits CIR and Spec 13 application
24 September 2014 Applicant submits request for extension
1 October 2014 ICANN informs applicant of extension determination
24 October 2014 ICANN informs applicant of Specification 13 determination
31 October 2014 Applicant submits compliant COI (if one is not already submitted), and all required information for any pending change requests
7 November 2014 Applicant informs ICANN whether it intends to further negotiate the terms of the base Registry Agreement
25 November 2014 ICANN sends Specification 13 and Registry Agreements to eligible applicants who do not wish to further negotiate base Registry Agreement, or who do not respond to ICANN's inquiry
1 February 2015 Applicants who wish to further negotiate the terms of the base Registry Agreement sends requested changes to ICANN
1 March – 30 June 2015 ICANN sends Specification 13 and Registry Agreement to eligible applicants who complete negotiations
4 December 2014 – 29 July 2015 Applicant and ICANN execute Specification 13 and Registry Agreements

Scenario 2: No responses to the CIR received 3 weeks prior to the Registry Agreement execution deadline, and no extensions have been granted.

If no extensions have been granted and the applicant does not submit a response to the CIR 3 weeks prior to the Registry Agreement execution deadline, it must execute the Registry Agreement by the Registry Agreement execution deadline. To provide applicants under this scenario the ability to execute the Registry Agreement by the deadline date, ICANN will send eligible applicants the base Registry Agreement 2 weeks prior to the deadline date to execute the Registry Agreement.

Applicants with a 29 October 2014 deadline to execute the Registry Agreement under this scenario would have the following timeline:

Deadline Activity
14 October 2014 ICANN sends base Registry Agreement to eligible applicants if an extension has not been granted and the applicant has not responded to the CIR
29 October 2014 Applicant and ICANN execute Registry Agreements

Scenario 3: The applicant does not qualify for the 29 July 2014 extension under scenario 1 and request an extension to execute the Registry Agreement.

If the applicant has a 29 October 2014 deadline to execute the Registry Agreement and submits an extension request by 24 September, ICANN will consider the request and may grant extensions according to the table below. If no extensions are granted, the Registry Agreement must be executed by the Registry Agreement execution deadline date.

Extension Periods Deadline for Applicants That Qualify As a .Brand TLD Activity Deadline for Applicants That Do Not Qualify As a .Brand TLD
  24 September 2014 Applicant submits request for extension 24 September
7 days 1 October 2014 ICANN informs applicant of extension determination 1 October 2014
30 days 31 October 2014 Applicant submits CIR, COI, negotiation terms, Specification 13 application, Code of Conduct request, all required information for any pending change requests 31 October 2014
60 days 30 December 2014 ICANN informs applicant of Specification 13 determination N/A
30 days 29 January 2015 Applicants who wish to further negotiate the terms of the base Registry Agreement sends requested changes to ICANN N/A
30 days 28 February 2015 ICANN and applicant review, negotiate, and ICANN issues Registry Agreements 30 November 2014
30 days 30 March 2015 Applicant and ICANN execute Registry Agreements 30 December 2014

Applicants with deadlines other than 29 October 2014 to execute Registry Agreements are eligible for similar extension periods based on activities that need to be completed.

All applicants who have been granted an extension must execute the Registry Agreement by the extended deadline, or risk losing eligibility to execute the Registry Agreement with ICANN. In addition, applicants that fail to meet interim milestone deadlines will be at risk of losing eligibility to execute the Registry Agreement with ICANN. If an applicant loses eligibility to execute the Registry Agreement with ICANN, the status of its application will be changed to "Will Not Proceed."

Registry Agreement

The Registry Agreement is the formal written and binding agreement between the applicant and ICANN that sets forth the rights, duties, liabilities and obligations of the applicant as a Registry Operator. Applicants may elect to negotiate the terms of the RA by exception, but this course of action will take substantially longer to complete the Contracting process.

Specification 13

On 26 March 2014, by the New gTLD Program Committee ("NGPC") of the ICANN Board passed a resolution approving a Registry Agreement Specification 13 for Brand category of applicants. One provision of Specification 13 gives a .BRAND registry operator the ability to designate up to three ICANN accredited registrars to serve as the exclusive registrars for their TLD. When the NGPC approved Specification 13 on 26 March 2014, implementation of this provision was delayed for 45 days in respect of the GNSO policy Recommendation 19 on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains. After considering the matter, the GNSO Council informed ICANN in correspondence dated 9 May 2014 [PDF, 366 KB] that although it found that the proposed provision was inconsistent with Recommendation 19, given the unique and specific circumstances, the GNSO Council accepted the variation from the original policy, did not object to the adoption of Specification 13 in its entirety, and so indicated in the form of a motion vote on and passed at the GNSO Council meeting of 8 May 2014. Thus, the current form of Specification 13 was not finalized until May 9, 2014.

Specification 13 provides certain modifications to the RA for those applicants that qualify as a .Brand TLD. These requirements include:

  • The TLD string is identical to the textual elements protectable under applicable law, of a registered trademark valid under applicable law;
  • Only Registry Operator, its Affiliates or Trademark Licensees are registrants of domain names in the TLD and control the DNS records associated with domain names at any level in the TLD;
  • The TLD is not a Generic String TLD (as defined in Specification 11);
  • Registry Operator has provided ICANN with an accurate and complete copy of such trademark registration.

Registry operators that want to qualify as a .Brand TLD and receive a Specification 13 to the RA may submit an application for Specification 13 to ICANN. ICANN posts all applications for Specification 13 for comment for 30 days. All input received will be taken into consideration. If a Specification 13 is granted, it will include a exemption to the Registry Operator Code of Conduct.

Registry Operator Code of Conduct

The Registry Operator Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines for registry operators relating to certain and limited operations of the registry. All registry operators are subjected to the Code of Conduct unless an exemption is granted to the registry operator by ICANN. In order to qualify for an exemption to the Code of Conduct, the TLD must not be a "generic string" (as defined in Section 3(d) of Specification 11) and the following criteria must be satisfied:

  • All domain name registrations in the TLD are registered to, and maintained by, Registry Operator for the exclusive use of Registry Operator or its affiliates;
  • Registry Operator does not sell, distribute or transfer control or use of any registrations in the TLD to any third party that is not an affiliate of Registry Operator; and
  • Application of the Code of Conduct to the TLD is not necessary to protect the public interest.

Registry operators that want to be exempted from the Code of Conduct may submit a request for exemption to the Code of Conduct to ICANN. ICANN posts all requests for exemption to the Code of Conduct for comment for 30 days. All input received will be taken into consideration.

A clause providing an exemption to the Code of Conduct is included in the provisions of Specification. Thus, any registry operator applying for a Specification 13 to the RA need not separately apply for an exemption to the Code of Conduct.

Contracting Statistics

The following contracting statistics are updated on a weekly basis:

For the Week Ending: 21 November 2014

Number of Applications Invited to Contracting: 5
Number of Responses to Contracting Invite Received: 5
Number of Registry Agreements Sent to Applicants: 25
Number of Registry Agreements Executed: 18

Number of Requests for Exemption to the Code of Conduct Posted for 30-day Comment: 0
Number of Code of Conduct Exemptions Granted: 2

Number of Applications for Specification 13 Posted for 30-day Comment: 1
Number of Specification 13 Granted: 7

Contracting Overview Chart

 

Specification 13 Overview Chart

 

Code of Conduct Overview Chart

 

Contracting Resources

Documents

Comments

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions?

News Archive

Below find archival materials documenting milestones in the development of the Contracting process, listed in reverse chronological order.

15 July 2014 – ICANN Updates Specification 13 Process and Application Form

14 April 2014 – ICANN Publishes Process to Qualify for Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry Agreement

18 March 2014 – ICANN Seeks Comments on Requests for Exemption to the Registry Operator Code of Conduct

9 May 2014 – GNSO Provided Input on Specification 13 at New gTLD Program Committee's ("NGPC") Request

On 26 March, the NGPC approved Specification 13 to the New gTLD Registry, along with an additional clause that would allow .Brand registry operators to designate up to three ICANN accredited registrars to serve as the exclusive registrars for their TLD. The NGPC asked the GNSO to comment on whether this clause is in line with GNSO policy recommendations. On 9 May, the GNSO provided its comment in a letter to Cherine Chalaby, the Chair of the NGPC:

15 July 2013 – Contracting Session at ICANN 47 Durban

Krista Papac, ICANN's gTLD Registry Services Director, leads a session focused on helping New gTLD applicants understand and prepare for the Contracting process.

15 July 2013 – First Registry Agreements

On the opening day of ICANN 47 Durban, ICANN signs the first four Registry Agreements with new gTLD applicants.

14 July 2013 – Supplement to the Registry Agreement

Required of applicants facing outstanding items, such as Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) Advice, Rights Protection Mechanisms requirements, and Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Proceedings, that wish to sign the Registry Agreement ahead of resolving those issues.

21 June 2013 – Contracting Information Request Guidance

ICANN publishes materials to help applicants to prepare for contracting.

13 June 2013 – New gTLD Contracting Webinar

ICANN hosts a webinar to help new gTLD applicants understand the Contracting process and learn what information they must provide prior to executing a Registry Agreement.

29 April 2013 – Registry Agreement is Now Available for Public Comment

ICANN is seeking public comment on the Proposed Final Registry Agreement published on 29 April 2013.

1 April 2013 – Revised Registry Agreement Posted for Review

ICANN provides the latest version of the "Revised new gTLD Registry Agreement" for the community's information and review.

26 March 2013 – New gTLD Update Webinar

ICANN staff hosts a webinar session providing information about the Contracting process, among other program updates.

5 February 2013 – New gTLD Applicant Webinar

ICANN staff hosts a webinar session providing details about the Public Interest Commitments (PIC) Specification, among other program updates.

5 February 2013 – Public Comment: Revised New gTLD Registry Agreement & PIC Spec

ICANN solicits feedback on a revised version of the New gTLD Registry Agreement that includes information on the Public Interest Commitments (PIC) Specification.

5 September 2013 – Customer Portal User Guide

ICANN publishes a User Guide to help applicants complete Transition to Delegation processes. Applicants must conduct Contracting through the Customer Portal.

27 August 2013 – Potential Name Space Collision Report

ICANN explains how the Name Space Collision Report will affect the Contracting process. New gTLD applications are to be handled according to the potential for risk.

Potential Name Space Collision Report's Impact on Contracting

Contracting Process Statistics

CUMULATIVE TOTALS —> 1930 1147 606 544 468
Week Ending (2014) Sent Through Priority Number Contracting Eligibility Notifications Sent CIR Invitations Sent CIR Responses Received Contracts Sent Out For Signature Registry Agreements Executed
11 Jul 1 3 10 4
4 Jul 1 1 6 9
27 Jun 0 8 8 15
20 Jun 4 6 2 6
13 Jun 5 9 9 5
6 Jun 6 10 16 3
30 May 8 7 10 6
23 May 2 5 5 6
16 May 3 7 6 4
9 May 4 10 7 9
2 May 10 2 7 7
25 Apr 1 5 10 8
18 Apr 2 10 5 4
11 Apr 0 9 7 4
04 Apr 4 4 6 10
28 Mar 5 10 5 10
21 Mar 2 4 11 27
14 Mar 0 4 19 4
7 Mar 1 15 60 37
28 Feb 7 7 4 3
21 Feb 1 63 5 4
14 Feb 95 3 8 3
07 Feb 0 18 13 9
31 Jan 1 7 0 7
24 Jan 0 4 7 14
17 Jan 6 9 15 9
10 Jan 1 10 10 19
03 Jan 0 3 0 0
Week Ending (2013) Sent Through Priority Number Contracting Eligibility Notifications Sent CIR Invitations Sent CIR Responses Received Contracts Sent Out For Signature Registry Agreements Executed
27 Dec 0 16 0 0
20 Dec 5 8 23 21
13 Dec 5 23 25 11
06 Dec 3 13 37 31
29 Nov 1 11 0 0
22 Nov 9 14 16 15
15 Nov 2 40 30 29
08 Nov 1930 430 198 22 48 35
01 Nov 1500 100 46 16 4 5
25 Oct 1400 100 52 14 16 8
18 Oct 1300 100 49 26 7 9
11 Oct 1200 100 49 7 6 2
04 Oct 1100 100 57 15 9 8
27 Sep 1000 100 47 14 3 4
20 Sep 900 100 39 13 14 10
13 Sep 800 100 53 21 15 17
06 Sep 700 100 53 10 2 0
30 Aug 600 100 49 19 17 13
23 Aug 500 100 49 20 0 0
16 Aug 400 100 53 24 0 0
09 Aug 300 100 49 9 0 0
02 Aug 200 92 53 0 0 0
26 Jul 108 58 31 1 0 0
19 Jul 50 0 0 0 4 4
12 Jul 50 0 0 4 0 0
05 Jul 50 50 31 0 0 0

Continuing Operations Instrument (Letter of Credit) Outreach

Week Ending (2013) Priority Numbers Addressed
11 Oct 1701 – 1930 (Completed)
04 Oct 1501 – 1700
27 Sep 1401 – 1500
20 Sep 1251 – 1400
13 Sep 1101 – 1250
06 Sep 951 – 1100
30 Aug 801 – 950
23 Aug 701 – 800
16 Aug 501 – 700
09 Aug 201 – 500
02 Aug 109 – 200
26 Jul 51 – 108
19 Jul Not applicable
12 Jul Not applicable
05 Jul 1 – 50