June 15, 2012
As earlier reported, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently opened a registration process for new generic top-level domains (“gTLDs”). June 13, 2012, was “Reveal Day.” ICANN has now made public the more than 1,900 gTLD “strings” (domains) for which applicants have applied to register. The gTLD strings cover a wide variety of subjects, including generic product and service names, geographic names, and brand names. Applicants have applied for gTLDs in both Latin and non-Latin characters.
We encourage brand owners and interested parties to review this list for any gTLD strings that correspond to a brand owner’s registered trademark or for gTLD strings for which a brand owner may later wish to register its trademark as a domain name. If a brand owner identifies a gTLD string of concern, the brand owner may submit comments about the application to ICANN or may file a formal objection against the registration of the gTLD string. Formal objections may be based upon infringement of trademark rights, community objections, government objections, or moral and public policy grounds. ICANN has opened the periods for submission of comments and formal objections, and has set deadlines for each.
Successful gTLD applications that advance through the evaluation period and that face no formal third-party objections are tentatively expected to go live and become accessible on the Internet by as early as March 2013.
In addition to entertaining comments and formal objections, ICANN is expected to create a Trademark Clearinghouse in October of this year. The Clearinghouse is intended to serve as a central repository of trademark information against which the rights of trademark holders may be authenticated, stored, and disseminated. Brand owners interested in registering their trademarks as domain names in the new gTLDs and protecting their trademarks when the new gTLDs launch should consider registering their trademarks in the Clearinghouse.
Please contact Fitch Even partner Joseph T. Nabor with any questions that you may have about particular gTLD strings in the list linked to above, or if you are interested in submitting a comment or objection. Because the deadlines for submission of comments or objections are now running, we encourage interested parties to contact Mr. Nabor at your earliest convenience.
--Written by Fitch Even attorney Alisa C. Simmons