The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) celebrated its 25th anniversary at its 25th Annual General Meeting, held in Hamburg, Germany from October 21-26, 2023. The meeting was a success with over 1,800 people attending in person and over 600 participating virtually.

Participants from 175 countries and territories gathered to discuss the future of the Internet and to celebrate ICANN’s achievements over the past 25 years.

LEMARIT actively engaged in advocating for brand owners across various groups such as the Registry Stakeholder Group, Registrar Stakeholder Group, Brand Registry Group, Subsequent Procedures, TechOps, among others. The engagement extended to ongoing discussions on geopolitical, legislative, and regulatory developments, domain registration data, DNS abuse, and the second round for new gTLDs. This active involvement aims to ensure the establishment of regulations that align with the best interests of our customers and brand owners.

An overview of the hottest topics from ICANN78:

NIS2 Directive (EU-wide legislation on cyber security)

The meeting kicked off with the ICANN78 Day Zero Workshop: NIS2 Directive – Impact on the DNS Industry organized by eco – Association of the Internet Industry

The EU’s NIS2 Directive, which aims to enhance cybersecurity across the bloc, will have a significant impact on domain name registrations within the EU.

Article 28 of the NIS2 Directive specifies requirements for domain name registration data, but the directive’s nature poses a challenge. As a directive, it sets goals for all EU countries, but individual states must create their laws to meet these objectives. This could lead to 27 different validation procedures for domain name registration data across the EU, potentially hindering the seamless operation of the global domain industry.

Businesses need to assess the impact of the NIS2 Directive and invest time in establishing compliant structures. They should also consider jurisdictional rules in their operational plans and third-party relationships. The NIS2 Directive came into effect on January 16, 2023, and member states have until October 17, 2024, to implement new legislation compliant with NIS2.

As an eco association member, we were delighted to engage and gather valuable insights into the impending implementation of the NIS2 Directive. While NIS2 presents benefits, it also poses challenges and LEMARIT is actively developing solutions to assist its customers through this transition.

ICANN to launch Registration Data Request Service in late November

ICANN is set to launch a new Registration Data Request Service (RDRS) in late November. The RDRS is a tool that will allow third parties to request access to non-public registration data for gTLDs.

The RDRS is not a fully automated system. Instead, it will allow registrars to examine and respond to requests. This will help to ensure that only legitimate requests are granted.

The original SSAD (System for Standardized Access/Disclosure) policy is still pending with the ICANN Board. The Board will gather data from this pilot to decide on next steps.

The portal is a great tool for brand owners to promptly obtaining access to domain contact information to identify who is behind online infringement. LEMARIT is content with the interim solution and is committed to contributing to the program to enhance the resolution for the misuse of brand names.

Martin Küchenthal, Neli Marcheva and Zornitsa Küchenthal

Next round of New gTLDs

On 31st of July, ICANN org released an implementation plan for opening the 2nd round of the gTLD Program. The goal is to open the Application submission period in April 2026.

An update on the Implementation Status of the new gTLDs Program was presented subsequent to the Board’s approval of the Final Report on the New gTLD Subsequent Procedures (SubPro) in Cancun (ICANN76) and the work done since ICANN77. The Program Implementation team shared an overview of the progress during the Implementation Phase and facilitated interactive engagement with the community. Concerns were raised over the proposed target date of April 2026, particularly from applicants seeking predictability. In particular, the Brand Registry Group expressed the need for a tentative or concrete date to effectively prepare for applying for new gTLDs.

As part of the Subsequent procedures discussions was also the upcoming Registry Service Provider (RSP) Evaluation Program (“RSP Program”) coming in Q4 2024. LEMARIT as an active RSP for 1st round TLDs will take part in the program to become an established ICANN RSP for Second round applicants.

One step forward to combat DNS abuse

Addressing Domain Name System (DNS) abuse remains a critical focus for ICANN and was a point of discussion during ICANN78. LEMARIT, as an ICANN-accredited registrar and representing various registry operators, has cast its votes on the proposed contract amendments. These amendments are a significant step forward in the continuous efforts to combat DNS abuse.

Brand Registry Group presents success stories

The BRG conducted an open session inviting community members to participate and learn how to develop a Brand TLD strategy for the next round, along with sharing successful stories of existing European Brand TLDs.

Martin Kuechenthal, CEO of LEMARIT and a member of the BRG Board of Directors, was invited as a presenter to share his extensive experience and insights about dotBRANDs. He emphasized the key distinctions and observations between European and North American Brands.

The significance of ICANN cannot be understated, particularly in the ever-evolving domain industry landscape. It serves as a crucial regulatory body that navigates the multifaceted changes and demands inherent in the contemporary digital sphere. As always ICANN78 brought together experts, stakeholders, and professionals to address the evolving challenges and opportunities surfacing in the digital domain ecosystem.

LEMARIT was thrilled to extend a warm welcome to everyone in Hamburg for the 25th Annual General Meeting. It was a privilege to participate once again in the ongoing evolution and challenges within the domain industry, dedicating our efforts to meticulous assessment and resolution. Our goal is to pave the way for a more resilient and secure online environment, benefiting our partners and customers.

Further information

Any questions about our involvement with ICANN or our LEMARIT Registry Services? Are you interested in applying for your own TLD or do you want to learn about other options to control your brand?

Feel free to contact us!