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Closing ICANN’s 37th International meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, ICANN’s Board of Directors adopted a pioneering package including an extensive database of trademarks for their protections on the Internet.

“In forming this trademark clearinghouse, we’ve listened to our community about providing trademark protection,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, ICANN’s Chairman of the Board. “We’ve also adopted an extremely rapid process by which people or organizations can challenge trademark infringement.”
In other actions, the Board rejected a proposal to implement a system of “Expressions of Interest” (EOI), which would have been a pre-registration process for those wishing to apply for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
The expansion of generic top-level domains (gTLD), has been a subject of considerable discussion and planning within ICANN’s Internet community. gTLDs are the end portion of an Internet address name, such as “.com” or “.org” and are not associated with any specific country. Under ICANN’s new procedures, the number of these gTLDs will eventually be expanded from its current list of 21 to include almost any word, in almost any language. The Board agreed to post process options to reconsider the proposed controversial .XXX sponsored top-level domain within the next two weeks. A decision on the process is scheduled to occur at or before ICANN’s next international meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on 20-25 June 2010. Last month, an Independent Review Panel (IRP) issued a non-binding declaration which held 2-1 that a 2007 decision to reject ICM’s application for a .XXX top-level domain was flawed. In 2004, the ICM registry applied for the .XXX sponsored top-level domain as a potential community site for the adult entertainment industry. The IRP is one of ICANN’s accountability processes that allow any aggrieved party to request a review of an ICANN board action.
The Board also voted to include in any new gTLD agreements a ban on cross ownership between ICANN accredited registrars and registries. The Board voted to tighten the vertical separation restrictions between two parts of the domain name industry, instead focusing attention on a bottom-up policy development process in ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), to determine whether or not there should be vertical integration within the industry contracts.
“This was one of the most productive ICANN meetings in a place that is helping to define what Internet access should become across the African continent,” said Rod Beckstrom, Chief Executive Officer and President. “The new fibre optic infrastructure here in Kenya allowed the ICANN team to access and use the Internet at some of the fastest speeds we’ve ever encountered at any ICANN meeting anywhere.”