Further to our recent
bulletin regarding new generic top level domains (gTLDs), the
application period finally closed on May 30 and the list of proposed new gTLDs for which the
Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
received applications was revealed on June 13.
ICANN received 1930 applications for new gTLDs, including 116 in
non-ASCII characters including, for example, strings using Arabic,
Chinese and Cyrillic scripts.
Among the types of gTLDs applications filed were many brand
names (e.g., .AIG, .BANANAREPUPLIC, .BLOOMINGDALES, .FIAT, .HEINZ,
.MICROSOFT) and generic terms (e.g., .HAIR, .MAKEUP, PHOTOGRAPHY,
.PIZZA), as well as 66 geographic names (e.g., .QUEBEC, .BARCELONA,
.DUBAI, .NYC) and 84 community-based domains (i.e., gTLDs which are
endorsed by a clearly identified, pre-established existing
community having a clear link to the gTLD) (e.g., .GAY, PHARMACY,
In many cases competing applicants applied to operate identical
gTLDs (e.g., .APP. .ART, .BABY, .BLOG. .LAW, .MUSIC and .OSAKA, to
name only a few. In all, 230 proposed new gTLDs have more than one
applicant, comprising 751 applications for contested strings.
The period for filing objections to the proposed new gTLDs
commenced June 13, 2012, and, although ICANN has not yet committed
to a final deadline date, it is expected that the objection period
will be open for approximately seven months. ICANN has set up an Objection and Dispute Resolution page to
provide more information to those wishing to file objections and
applicants wishing to respond to objections. Objectors are required
to file their objection in approved form with the applicable
dispute resolution provider together with the required fee. ICANN
expects that all objections will be resolved within five months of
the close of the objection period. There are four grounds of
Legal Rights – the proposed gTLD violates the
trademark rights of the objector (please refer to our previous
bulletin Trade-mark Owners be Vigilant – ICANN to Publish
List of Proposed New gTLDs for more details);
String Confusion – the proposed gTLD is confusingly
similar to an existing top level domain operated by the objector or
another applied-for new gTLD proposed for operation by the
Community – with respect to proposed new
community-based gTLDs, a significant portion of the community
opposes the proposed gTLD, as represented by the objector, which
must be an established institution clearly associated with a
Limited Public Interest –the proposed gTLD is
contrary to generally accepted norms of morality and public order
recognized under international principles of law.
In addition to the formal objection process, ICANN has provided
for a forum by which the public can submit comments
on a proposed gTLD application. Comments that are submitted by
August 12, 2012 can be directed to the evaluation panel tasked with
assessing the application and applicant and will be considered
during the evaluation process. Alternatively, comments can be
submitted by the public on the basis of the four grounds of
objection, however, any such comments will not constitute a formal
objection and will not alone prevent an application from being
approved; these objection-based comments will not be passed on to
the evaluation panels, but will be available to be viewed by the
public and the applicable dispute resolution provider tasked with
resolving any formal objections.
ICANN presently anticipates that the initial evaluation process
will be concluded by December 2012/January 2013, with an
expectation that the first approved new gTLDs will go live in
The foregoing provides only an overview. Readers are
cautioned against making any decisions based on this material
alone. Rather, a qualified lawyer should be consulted.
A recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench decision allowed a court-appointed receiver to sell and transfer intellectual property rights free and clear of encumbrances, finding that a license to use improvements of an invention was a contractual interest and not a property interest.
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