Since the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became law nearly five years ago, resulting in domain name registration details such as the registrant’s name, email address, and phone number no longer being published, the ICANN community has been exploring how, and under what circumstances, certain parties may still obtain access to WHOIS data. On February 27, 2023, the ICANN board announced that it had passed a resolution instructing ICANN to move forward with development of the WHOIS Disclosure System, a ticketing system intended to facilitate and standardize the process for requesting and receiving gTLD registration data from ICANN-accredited registrars. While a far cry from the public, broadly-available WHOIS data that was available prior to GDPR, this new ticketing system is a first step in the direction of restoring some registration data access in limited circumstances.
Winterfeldt IP Group has recently published a detailed analysis of the WHOIS Disclosure System's features and limitations, which is available here to World Trademark Review subscribers. Most notably, despite the anticipated limitations of the system, it will impact brand owners' strategies, workflow and budgets for domain name enforcement and other types of digital brand protection. In preparation for launch of the system, anticipated for late 2023, Winterfeldt IP Group would be glad to offer a complimentary consultation to interested brand owners. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.