Tata Group, the humongous Indian conglomerate, has been told its flagship application for a dot-brand gTLD has been refused.
ICANN on Friday changed the status of the application for .tata from “On Hold” to “Will Not Proceed”, a limbo state that is usually expected to lead to the application being withdrawn.
It is believed that Tata’s row with Morocco is to blame.
While Tata Group is a 150-year-old, $100 billion-a-year company, Tata is also a province of Morocco with a population of about 120,000.
Under the rules of the ICANN new gTLD program, the string “tata” is therefore a protected geographic name, for which the applicant needs to show the unequivocal support or non-objection of the relevant government.
Tata was the last applicant to pass its ICANN evaluation, when in July 2014 it finally managed to pass its Geographic Names Review on the basis of a letter from a Moroccan official.
However, in September last year the Moroccan’s government’s digital economy minister denied that the letter indicated support for .tata.
This February, ICANN threw Tata back into a Geographic Names Review, where the onus was on the company to prove that it really did have support.
That support has evidently not been forthcoming.
Morocco has indicated in letters to ICANN that it may want the .tata gTLD itself in future.back