Q1. In the RFI, there is a requirement for "Integration with the Trademark Clearinghouse or other centralized databases to ensure all URS decisions are recorded and searchable". Does the Integration with the Trademark Clearinghouse have to be directly by the URS provider, by previously obtaining a Chip accreditation or it can be subcontracted?
A1. There is no particular mechanism for integration with the Clearinghouse required currently. What integration is necessary would be worked out between the Clearinghouse and URS providers.
Q2. How open is ICANN to deviating from some of the more procedural aspects of the URS model?
A2. The ICANN community developed the URS based on the work of two community-based groups; whether deviations would be accepted is the subject of ongoing community discussions. Respondents should clearly indicate if they find deviations necessary to achieve the target fee of 300-500 USD, the exact nature of any deviations and clear justifications.
Q3. Can the notice be sent just one of the enumerated ways or is notice only satisfied when all three methods have been used? Is ICANN open to adjusting this especially since notice of a determination is emailed?
A3. Sending the notice in just one way would constitute a deviation from the URS as drafted. See answer to the previous question regarding such deviations.
Q4. Is the process for being trained and certified in URS proceedings determined by the provider or ICANN?
A4. The process would be determined by the provider. However, for the initial stage when preparing for launch of the URS, a cooperative effort involving both the provider and ICANN can be envisaged.
Q5. Panels have been mentioned a lot in the rhetoric but are not enumerated in the guidelines other than for appeals. Is the use of a panel in the initial proceeding a decision made by the provider or is it reserved for appeals?
A5. The "panel" for the initial proceeding would consist of a single examiner to be appointed by the provider. The examiner, not the provider, would be rendering the decision in the URS proceeding.
Q6. Has ICANN made any more determinations on the publishing of proceedings? Will this be on the company website or a more formal report?
A6. The outcomes of URS proceedings are to be published by the provider on the provider's website.
Q7. Does the appeal price need to stay in the $300-$500 range?
A7. There is no target fee set for the URS appeal procedure. Respondents are invited to include proposed appeal fees in their responses.
Q8. Will companies without UDRP experience be considered if they have other experiences that speak to their ability to effectively and efficiently deliver?
Q9. Can you please describe in detail what you constitute (sic! interpreted as "consider") an experienced enough individual to be a panelist?
A9. The expectation from the ICANN community is that the URS examiner should have qualifications on a par with UDRP panelists in terms of the areas of expertise. Any proposed deviation in that regard should be clearly stated by the Respondent.
Q10. How much automation of this process will be allowed?
A10. As much as possible, while staying with the process as currently worded. Any proposed deviation in that regard should be clearly stated by the Respondent.
Q11. Must each claim have to go before a panel or can a qualified expert evaluate each claim on the merits? – What is the requisite level of education or training?
A11. As the URS is currently drafted, each claim will go before an examiner (one-person panel). As to the requisite level of experience and training, please see above.
Q12. What is the maximum timeframe? Do appeals need to abide by the same time limitations?
A12. The overall timeframe for a URS proceeding is laid out in the URS procedure found at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/agb/urs-04jun12-en.pdf [PDF, 280 KB]. There is no formal timeframe stipulated for the handling of an appeal.
Q13. Will the $300-500 charge be for each domain or for each claim? Can claims contain more than one domain?
A13. The target fee mentioned is for each URS proceeding, initiated by one complaint. Each complaint can cover multiple domains as described in the URS text. Any proposed deviation in that regard should be clearly stated by the Respondent.
Q14: RFI Section 4.9 "Ownership of Documents" indicates that "All supporting documentation submitted by the Respondent with a response shall become the property of ICANN unless the Respondent specifically requests in writing that the documentation be returned." Please clarify the intended scope of this provision. Specifically:
Q14.1. Is this intended to address ownership of copyright or other proprietary rights in the materials submitted, or simply ICANN's right to possess copies of the submissions in connection with its evaluation of respondents?
A14.1. The intention is to enable ICANN to keep the materials submitted, with no obligation to return them unless the Respondent so requires. It is also intended to ensure that information provided in response to the RFI can be used in the implementation of the URS without a later claim of ownership by the party providing that information.
Q14.2. While we understand that ICANN will be using the submissions for purposes of evaluating respondents, if a respondent has content related to its proposed offering over which it must retain rights such as copyright or patent rights, what (if any) steps must the respondent take to ensure that RFI Section 4.9 does not operate to impair the respondent's ownership of that content? What is meant by that section? How do we submit proprietary information under this?
A14.2. At this stage, the Respondents are advised not to submit material that cannot be made public. References can be made to confidential information but that information as such should not be provided initially. If provisions for keeping submitted material confidential are introduced, the potential Respondents will be informed of those provisions.
Q15. Regarding section 2.3, URS Specific Requirements, number 4 states, "Creating a payment account system that allows complainants to fund URS filing fees in multiple currencies." Do we need to create an actual account system?
A15. Not necessarily, as there are well-established payment systems that would satisfy this requirement, for example payment by credit card.
Q16. Regarding section 2.3 – URS Specific Requirements – number 10 states, "Caching copies of the website pages at the time of the complaint cited by the complainant as evidence of infringement." Will screen shots suffice?
A16. The important aspect is that the provider has sufficient information to verify the allegations made by the complainant.
Q17. Regarding section 2.3 – URS Specific Requirements – number 16 states, "Establishing a process to determine if appeals have been filed in a court of competent jurisdiction." Why is this necessary?
A17. This is important as a court verdict may make moot the further pursuit of a URS proceeding.
Q18. Any estimate on the volume of URS infringements that may incur?
A18. There are no estimates available on projected numbers of future URS cases. The topic has been subject to some discussions and speculations in the community, but no study has been undertaken to make such estimates.
Q19. Do we have an obligation to cover the entire spectrum of languages or just the main ones in use?
A19. The URS text in this regard is far-reaching and the community may be willing to accept some limitations. As with other deviations, the Respondents are asked to specify and justify any proposed deviations regarding language coverage.
Q20. It is required that the first notice be translated. Does anything else have to be translated?
A20. The first notice must be translated. There may be an expectation that follow-up messages be translated too but it's not explicitly stated in the URS text. Respondents are asked to clarify their intentions in this regard.
Q21. Will there just be one URS provider?
A21. ICANN has no obligation to appoint only one URS provider. Decisions in that regard will be made based on the outcome of the RFI and a potential subsequent RFP.