[UPDATE: Correction issued 29 July 2014.]
Today, ICANN publishes updates to the Specification 13 Process and Application Form [PDF, 158 KB]. These updates are results of discussions between ICANN and the Brand Registry Group regarding concerns from the Brand Registry Group that Brands do not have adequate time to execute the New gTLD Registry Agreement.
The Applicant Guidebook provides applicant with a 9-month period to execute the Registry Agreement. This 9-month period generally commences on receipt of the Contracting Information Request (CIR) invitation. For applicants who received CIR invitations prior to January 29, 2014, the nine-month period started January 29, 2014 and ends October 29, 2014.
Some applicants that wish to apply for qualification as a .BRAND have expressed the view that the delay until May 9, 2014 in finalizing Specification 13 should be taken into account in considering the period of time within which an applicant must execute the Registry Agreement, because other applicants have known since January 29, 2014 the form of their Registry Agreements, but applicants for .BRAND TLD status did not see the form of their Registry Agreement finalized until May 9, 2014. In addition, some applicants that wish to apply for qualification as a .BRAND pursuant to Specification 13 have expressed concerns that at the time an applicant submits its CIR response, it does not know whether it will be determined to qualify for .BRAND status, and therefore the applicant does not know the form and content of the Registry Agreement it is expected to sign and cannot assess what contract modifications it may seek to negotiate.
To address these concerns, ICANN has taken the following steps:
- Modified the CIR form so that an attachment of requested changes to the Registry Agreement is no longer required to submit the CIR form.
- Provided guidance on criteria by which ICANN will assess whether an applicant that applies for qualification as a .BRAND TLD may qualify for an extension to execute the Registry Agreement. To qualify:
- The applicant must submit a complete CIR form on or before September 1, 2014.
- The applicant must submit a Specification 13 application on or before September 1, 2014.
- The applicant must meet the definition of a .BRAND TLD as per Section 7 of Specification 13.
An applicant that meet the requirements above and request an extension to execute the registry agreement will be deemed to have demonstrated to ICANN's reasonable satisfaction that it is working diligently and in good faith toward successfully completing the steps necessary for entry into the registry agreement and will therefore be granted an extension for nine (9) months, from October 29, 2014 to July 29, 2015, to execute the registry agreement.
If based on ICANN's determination of the Specification 13 application, the applicant wants to further negotiate any provision of the Registry Agreement, the applicant must provide its requested changes to the Base Registry Agreement to ICANN in no later than 90 days after the approval or rejection of that applicant's Specification 13 application or February 1, 2015, whichever is later.
ICANN is not modifying the Applicant Guidebook but is simply clarifying certain criteria that ICANN will apply in making the determination, called for in the Applicant Guidebook, whether an applicant has demonstrated to ICANN's reasonable satisfaction that it is working diligently and in good faith toward successfully completing the steps necessary for entry into the registry agreement. In evaluating requests from other applicants for an extension of the time period for execution of the registry agreement, ICANN will consider all relevant facts and circumstances in assessing whether an applicant has demonstrated to ICANN's reasonable satisfaction that it is working diligently and in good faith toward successfully completing the steps necessary for entry into the registry agreement. Most applicants have known the form of the registry agreement they are expected to sign since January 29, 2014, and ICANN believes that in most cases, the nine (9) month period from January 29, 2014 to October 29, 2014 provides adequate time for execution of the registry agreement.
For more information, read the updated Specification 13 Process and Application Form [PDF, 158 KB], and the Specification 13 FAQs [PDF, 428 KB].