fTLD Registry Services beat out DotSecure, Inc. for the .bank gTLD. As you may recall, the International Banking Federation filed an objection with the International Chamber of Commerce against DotSecure’s application to operate the .bank gTLD, alleging there was substantial opposition to it from a significant portion of the community to which the .bank string might be explicitly or implicitly targeted.
fTLD Registry Services was established in 2012 by the American Bankers Association, the Financial Services Roundtable and other industry organizations who wanted to create a “protected, trusted and easily identifiable” space on the Internet for the global banking community and the customers it serves. Unlike other gTLDs to date, .bank will likely have the most rigorous security controls of any existing or new gTLD. Specifically, .bank domain name applicants will be required to adhere to 31 strict standards in order to obtain a domain name in this space. For a full description of the elevated security standards, see http://www.ftld.com/ security.html. The .bank gTLD will also be powered by Verisign, a veteran in the domain name industry that has many years of experience running large gTLDs, including the .com gTLD.
Only verified members of the banking community will be able to register .bank domain names, which for banks will include charter verification through the applicant’s local and/or national regulators. fTLD Registry Services is expected to begin taking registrations from the general public on June 1, 2015. Trademark holders who have registered their bank’s trademarks with ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) will have the opportunity to pre-register domain names matching their trademarks during a Sunrise period, which is expected to run from May 1st through May 30th of 2015. By registering with the TMCH, trademark owners will also be able to take advantage of the TMCH Trademark Claims service that notifies trademark holders of possible infringements. The Trademark Claims period follows the Sunrise period and runs for at least the first 90 days of general availability.
While fTLD Registry Services has not yet announced the cost of registering a domain name in this space, it may be somewhat pricey given the extra security bells and whistles.
If your bank has not yet registered your key trademarks with the TMCH, make sure to do so before the Sunrise period opens. Not only will it allow you to pre-register domain names in .bank that match your trademarks, it will also allow you to take full advantage of the additional rights protection mechanisms available only to TMCH participants should you encounter trademark violations in this space.