ICANN is looking for a exclusive provider for a Trade Mark Clearinghouse service. This provider would basically retain a database of valid trade marks. Providers of new TLD’s which will launch in the coming years, will be required to offer a sunrise period of at least 30 days in which only holders of a valid Trade Mark can claim their domain name. Verification of the validity of the trade mark, will need to be done via the Trade Mark Clearinghouse that ICANN is now scouting.
At this point in time, two companies already offer such a service. Since ICANN is looking for an exclusive provider with which all new TLD’s will be forced to cooperate, it is now er never for those two companies.
One of them is the Belgian company CHIP (Clearinghouse for Intellectual Property). They have the expertise of Bart Lieben on board. With PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Bart Lieben already managed the sunrise of .eu and .mobi (generally considered to be the largest Intellectual Property (IP) audits that have ever taken place). Later he worked closely with Deloitte regarding the release of .asia, .me and .co. CHIP itself already managed sunrises for .so, .asia IDN and some second level extensions like .de.com. Until recently, Bart Lieben basically was the one and only reference regarding sunrises. CHIP also has very close ties to new TLD provider Sinserius/OpenRegistry and EURid.
An other clear contester for this job would be IPRota. This company was formed only very recently. They are part of Group NBT who meanly have experience with domain names (through companies like Ascio and Indom) and not so much with IP rights. They are currently working with ICM-registry for the sunrise of .xxx.