ICANN has now published its final rights protection mechanism (RPM) requirements document. All new gTLD registries must adhere to these requirements, which bring some benefits, but also some complications.
Registry operators now have two choices on how they submit TLD Startup information: a Start-Date Sunrise and an End-Date Sunrise. It is an element of compromise on ICANN’s part in developing the final RPM requirements.
For registrars, interaction with the TMCH isn’t necessary to participate in Sunrise, although integration testing must be completed before Claims Registrations are submitted post-Sunrise. A warning for trademark owners, if a registry opts for an End-Date Sunrise, they will have the option to launch their Sunrise registration without having to wait 30 days.
Also, TM claims for Sunrise registrations will be handled differently depending upon the type of Sunrise – either during or after the Period. Ultimately, the ability of a brand or trademark owner to file marks in the clearing house during a Sunrise launch may now be more complicated, particularly with the End-Date Sunrise.
In summary, with the Start-Date Sunrise:
- TLD Startup information must be submitted to ICANN at least 30 days before starting Sunrise.
- The registry may allocate Sunrise Registrations in any manner once the Sunrise Period commences.
The End-Date Sunrise offers greater flexibility in terms of planning gTLD launches, and will be the choice for most registries. By undertaking this route, registries will be effectively removing the (30 day) notice period. Furthermore, with the End-Date Sunrise:
- TLD Startup Information can be submitted to ICANN at any time following delegation.
- Sunrise can start at any time thereafter with the Period lasting for at least 60 days.
- The registry may not allocate Sunrise Registrations until the end of such Sunrise Period.
In addition, End-Date Sunrises may complicate the ability of trademark owners to register marks in the clearinghouse once a Sunrise Period commences (as the registry can start Sunrise at any time after submitting TLD Startup Information). Since allocation will not occur until the end of the Period, marks which have been entered into or verified by the clearinghouse after the start of the Period will not be prejudiced in any way.
Whatever path registries choose, it is in the best interests of rights holders to plan and file trademarks in the clearinghouse as early as possible so that they are adequately prepared for the first Sunrise Period.