Starting this weekend, the “.sucks” domain name will be available for purchase by the general public. The .sucks domain name is one of more than 500 new generic top-level domains to become available. While we question whether such a domain name should even exist, we write to advise clients about its availability. You may wish to consider purchasing YOURBRANDNAME.sucks for $249.00 through one of the registration partners of Vox Populi Registry, Ltd. (“Vox”), the company who won the rights to administer and sell these domains. This may be especially important for clients with businesses that interface directly with consumers.
If you do nothing, a domain containing YOURBRANDNAME.sucks could be purchased and used by another party with adverse consequences to you. Once a domain has been registered by another party, you, the trademark owner, have limited recourse to obtain the domain. Further, once this happens, you must resort to legal proceedings to stop the use of the domain by the other party.
It is impossible to predict exactly what will transpire. It is likely, however, that much of the content that will appear under the .sucks domains will be protected from trademark infringement actions. Vox envisions .sucks domains to be used by consumer protection groups and consumers venting their frustrations about particular companies and issues. Where the trademark is being used only for its descriptive value or its use is necessary for the purpose of identifying the product or its producer, it is difficult for a brand owner to stop such use. Likewise, if a .sucks domain is used to parody the original trademark in a way that is not confusing to the average consumer, it may also be difficult to stop.
This initial public sale of .sucks domain names is an opportunity for trademark owners to purchase their domain and protect their marks from improper use. Domains can be registered athttps://www.registry.sucks/. The registration process opens on Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 7:01 pm Central Time. As mentioned above, the price is $249.00.