Final RPMs create two types of sunrise periods and leave room open for special treatment of geo domain names.
ICANN has published the final Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs) added to the new top level domain name program.
There are a few notable changes from the draft version of the RPMs.
One key difference is that registries will be able to choose either a “start-date sunrise” or “end-date sunrise”. A start-date sunrise allows the registry to allocate domain names before the end of the sunrise. If a registry wants to do this, they must provide advance notice of the start dates for the sunrise period. With an end-date sunrise, the registry cannot allocate any claimed domains until the end of the sunrise. In this case the sunrise may start at any time but the registry must provide advance notice of the end of the sunrise. Given the planned waiting period for name collisions after a registry agreement is signed, I suspect most registries will go with an end-date sunrise.
Another change is to launch programs. Registries often allocate select domains to entities that plan to develop the domains. The RPM document says that if ICANN approves a process for holding back up to 100 domains, these may be allocated prior to sunrise. Registry operators will have to submit launch programs for approval.
It’s worth noting that registry operators can apply tighter restrictions to qualify for sunrise than just having a trademark registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse. For example, a registry can place restrictions on the class of goods or jurisdiction. The way I read it, .NYC could block a sunrise claim for TonysPizza.nyc based on a trademark in Italy in order to allow the domain to be registered to a New York City business of the same name. Or .land could disallow a sunrise registration for a term related to electronics.
Registries may also impose “reasonable date restrictions” for when the trademark was filed, ostensibly to prevent gaming.
Geo domain applicants have been particularly concerned about sunrise in relation to domains they have promised to reserve for the governments they are working with, e.g. mayor.nyc or police.nyc. The final version of the RPM says these applicants may be able to work with the Intellectual Property Constituency to create an “Approved Geo Launch Program”.