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Wiley Rein’s David Weslow Discusses ICANN Contract for New Top-Level Domains

Bloomberg BNA’s Electronic Commerce & Law Report
September 5, 2013

David E. Weslow, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Intellectual Property Practice, spoke with Bloomberg BNA’s Electronic Commerce & Law Report for an article yesterday on the standard domain name registry agreement for businesses seeking to launch new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

While the Internet’s current address system includes 22 generic domain-name extensions such as .com and .gov, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has received 1,930 applications for 1,400 new gTLDs such as .book, .app, and .law.

ICANN—the governing body that authorizes domain-name suffixes—signed contracts last week with 13 gTLD applicants that accepted the standard registry agreement, according to the article.  The new domains could begin going live in November.

Mr. Weslow, who represents a number of companies pursuing or opposing particular new gTLD applications, said applicants should approach the standard registry agreement with caution if they are not in a rush to bring new gTLDs to market.

“TLD applicants and their counsel should carefully evaluate the potential implications of the base registry agreement in light of the proposed operation of the gTLD,” Mr. Weslow told Bloomberg BNA.

“Applicants will need to balance their desire to promptly move forward in the TLD process with the need to negotiate with ICANN for revisions to the base registry agreement in light of the uncommon nature of many of the proposed baseline provisions in the agreement,” he added.

Large companies that have applied for branded TLDs, such as .bloomberg and .microsoft, may have the most significant need to negotiate for changes to the standard registry agreement, Mr. Weslow said.