Q. Can we submit the SMD instead of a claims acceptance?
No, SMD file cannot replace claims extension.
Q. Given the holder has a valid trademark, do they still have to accept the claims notice?
Yes, if the domain name is in Claims period you should included claims extension.
Notice that Claims period starts after Sunrise phase, so you do not have to send the SMD file for registering the name, only when overriding a DPML block during Claims period.
The following is the process to register a domain name subject to a claims:
1. Submit a check command with claims extension; the system will return a domain name with a Lookup Key.
2. Access the TMCH and submit the domain name Lookup Key to obtain a NoticeID, the Not-After-Date and Accepted-Date required to register a domain subjected to claims.
3. For instruction on how to download the CNIS file that contains the Lookup key please visit http://newgtlds.icann.org/sites/default/files/db-registrar-22oct13-en.pdf, the details are on section 3.4.2
4. Once you have the NoticeID and the dates from Trademark Clearing house then you can register a domain name subjected to claims.
5. For information on registering a domain subjected to claims EPP code required, please visit our support website http://support.donuts.co/entries/28300916-Trademark-Claims-Notice-Domain-create-with-claims-XML-example