A couple of years later, Donuts is back in the game for the .charity top level domain.
New top level domain name company Donuts is back in the running for the .charity top level domain name after an Independent Review Panel (IRP) found ICANN’s board violated its bylaws.
The saga began when the Independent Objector filed community objections to both Donuts’ and Famous Four Media’s applications to run .charity. The panelist for the community objection ruled that the objection against Donuts’ application succeeded while dismissing the objection against Famous Four Media’s application. This was because Famous Four Media submitted a Public Interest Commitment (PIC) that suggested it would only allow actual charities to register the domain names.
The PIC probably shouldn’t have been considered in the first place. It certainly became a moot point later when ICANN’s board decided to place safeguards on .charity at the behest of the Governmental Advisory Committee. This decision happened after the objection panel had closed the record but before the expert determination was made. The entire objection was pointless after ICANN slapped the additional requirements on whomever eventually operated .charity.
Meanwhile, ICANN’s board decided that two string similarity objections should be reconsidered because the cases contradicted other decisions. Yet, in a giant game of make believe, the board pretended that this “Inconsistent Determinations Review Procedure” didn’t apply to other contradictory decisions.
The panel agreed (pdf of the decision) with Donuts that the inconsistent decision against its .Charity application should have qualified for review. It unanimously ruled that the “Board’s action in excluding the Claimant from the new Inconsistent Determinations Review Procedure was inconsistent with the nondiscrimination provision of Article II, Section 3 of ICANN’s Bylaws.”
Jon Nevett, Donuts Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, told Domain Name Wire “We’re thankful the panel found unanimously in our favor.” However, he wished ICANN’s board would have handled the situation correctly the first time. The panel determined that both parties should bear their own costs, so Donuts had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to correct the mistake.
The IRP recommended that the board apply the Inconsistent Determinations Review Procedure to Donuts’ .Charity application. Nevett is hopeful that the board will decide to forego the review and just reinstate its application.
After Donuts’ application is reinstated, it will still have to resolve the contention set with Famous Four Media.