Introduction to ICANN New gTLD Dispute Resolution

The International Centre for Expertise of the ICC will administer disputes arising on Limited Public Interest Objections and Community Objections.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) (see www.icann.org website) has implemented a program for the introduction of new generic Top-Level Domain Names (“gTLDs”) on the internet.

This program includes a dispute resolution procedure, pursuant to which disputes arising out of the application for new gTLDs will be resolved. ICANN has set out this procedure in a document entitled New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure (download in PDF format).

The New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure will be administered by three institutions. ICC has accepted ICANN’s invitation to be one of the administering institutions. Accordingly the International Centre for Expertise of the ICC (“Centre”) is named as one of the Dispute Resolution Service Providers in the New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure.

The Centre is an ICC body specialised in dispute resolution, alongside the International Court of Arbitration, one of the world’s leading international arbitration institutions, and the ICC International Centre for ADR. Created in 1976, the Centre has a strong track record in administering domestic and international expertise proceedings.

The Centre will administer the New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure under the ICC Rules for Expertise (download in PDF format), in force as of 1 January 2003 and supplemented by a Practice Note on the Administration of Cases under the Procedure (download in PDF format) under the New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure.

The New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure provides that Objections to a gTLD application can be filed on four different grounds.
These are:

  1. String confusion Objection – when the Objector alleges that the applied-for gTLD string is confusingly similar to an existing top level domain or to another applied-for gTLD string in the same round of applications. The International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) will administer disputes arising on this ground.
  2. Legal Rights Objection – when the Objector alleges that the applied-for gTLD string infringes on the existing legal rights of the Objector. The Arbitration and Mediation Centre of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) will administer disputes arising on this ground.
  3. Limited Public Interest Objections – when the Objector alleges that the applied-for gTLD string is contrary to generally accepted legal norms of morality and public order that are recognised under international principles of law. The Centre will administer disputes arising on this ground.
  4. Community Objection – when the Objector alleges that there is substantial opposition to the gTLD application from a significant portion of the community to which the gTLD string may be explicitly or implicitly targeted. The Centre will administer disputes arising on this ground.

Further information about the specificities of each of the four Objection grounds, as well as on the standing to object is available in Module 3 to the New gTLD Applicant Guidebook published by ICANN (download in PDF format) and in the New gTLD Dispute Resolution Procedure published by ICANN (download in PDF format) and also on ICANN's website www.icann.org.