ICANN's new Generic Top-Level Domain ("gTLD")
program has been forging ahead, and it is expected that about 500
new gTLD applications will launch beginning late summer.
Applications have been filed for a wide and varied range of new
domains, including .buy, .music, .app, .cloud, and .coupon. Some of
these domains may rise in popularity, bringing with it potential
new business opportunities, and also challenges, including to
trademark protection and enforcement.
Trademark owners bracing for the launch of new gTLD have
probably seen several announcements that the Trademark
Clearinghouse ("TMCH") is now open for business. The TMCH
is a centralized system that verifies the existence of trademark
rights for all new gTLDs. Trademark owners that have their marks
recorded in the TMCH:
can register identical domain names on new gTLDs during
"sunrise" periods before the general public;
will have notice of their registered marks given to anyone
trying to register an identical domain name on a new gTLD warning
of possible infringement. (
Click here to see a sample notice.); and
will receive notice if the identical domain name is registered.
The notice system (which is called a "claims service")
does not prevent or block registration of domain names.
Trademark owners can start thinking about an appropriate TMCH
strategy, as well as a general enforcement strategy for new gTLDs.
But, there is no urgency to get your marks recorded in the
TMCH. There is no apparent need to record marks in the
TMCH before the first gTLD launches, which is unlikely to happen
before late summer.
Bereskin & Parr will be helping clients protect their marks
with the launch of new gTLDs, including recording marks with the
Check out our companion article here for more information on
the TMCH services and what to consider when developing an online
brand protection strategy with the launch of new gTLDs.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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