As we previously reported to you (click here to view April 29, 2013 TLD article), the internet is expanding to include hundreds of new top-level-domains (TLDs) (examples of TLDs as we know them today include .com, .net. and .org – i.e., the term that is to the right of the "dot"). While the only certainty at that time was that the launch was inevitable, like it or not, it's finally here (click here to view January 9, 2014 Sunrise article).

Frost Brown Todd will be sending out an update on the status of the sunrise and trademark claims notification periods on a weekly basis. The below reflects the status as of February 4, 2015:

SUNRISE PERIOD

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on February 5, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.green

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on February 6, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.science

.green

.party

.cricket

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on February 12, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.vote  (Registrants must have a bona fide intention to use the domain name, during the current/relevant election cycle, in connection with a clearly identified political/democratic process at the time of registration)

.voto   (Registrants must have a bona fide intention to use the domain name, during the current/relevant election cycle, in connection with a clearly identified political/democratic process at the time of registration)

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on February 14, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.nrw

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on February 15, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.KRED

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on February 28, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.coach

.memorial

.money

.legal

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on March 4, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.tirol

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on March 7, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.POKER

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on March 13, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.firmdale

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on March 16, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.PHARMACY  (Please note: Registrants must meet standards set by a global coalition that includes International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) andNABP)

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on March 20, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.alsace

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on March 21, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.tires

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on March 27, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.flowers

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on March 30, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.wedding

Sunrise periods for the following TLDs have opened and are scheduled to close on April 6, 2015, after which the trademark claims notification period will begin:

.garden

.fashion

The following TLDs are awaiting launch of their respective sunrise periods:

.osaka

.crs

.LAT

.fit

.sale

.video

.deisgn

.porn

.adult

.ONG

.NGO

.amsterdam

TRADEMARK CLAIMS

Sunrise periods in the following TLDs (consisting of characters from the English alphabet) have closed and trademark claims notifications have begun (or will begin shortly):

.engineer – (through February 10, 2015)

.top – (through February 15, 2015)

.quebec – (through February 16, 2015)

.hosting – (through February 23, 2015)

.property – (through February 23, 2015)

.click – (through February 23, 2015)

.help – (through February 23, 2015)

.diet – (through February 23, 2015)

.mini – (through March 1, 2015)

.gal – (through March 2, 2015)

.LTDA – (through March 2, 2015)

.paris – (through March 3, 2015)

.eus – (through March 3, 2015)

.business – (through March 3, 2015)

.network – (through March 3, 2015)

.pizza – (through March 3, 2015)

.immo – (through March 3, 2015)

.auction – (through March 3, 2015)

.software – (through March 3, 2015)

.bzh – (through March 5, 2015)

.dentist – (through March 17, 2015)

.rehab – (through March 17, 2015)

.gent – (through April 1, 2015)

.world – (through April 7, 2015)

.degree – (through April 7, 2015)

.gives – (through April 7, 2015)

.forsale – (through April 14, 2015)

.space – (through April 19, 2015)

.vlaanderen – (through April 20, 2015)

.brussels – (through April 20, 2015)

.band – (through April 21, 2015)

.rip – (through April 21, 2015)

.ryukyu – (through April 28, 2015)

.energy – (through May 5, 2015)

.delivery – (through May 5, 2015)

.work – (through May 11, 2015)

.casa – (through May 11, 2015)

.yoga – (through May 18, 2015)

.sydney – (through May 18, 2015)

.cymru – (through May 30, 2015)

.wales – (through May 30, 2015)

.手机 (.cell) – (through May 10, 2015)

.taipei – (through June 30, 2015)

.whoswho – (through September 24, 2015)

.rio – (No Trademark Claim period listed at this time)

.how – (No Trademark Claim period listed at this time)

As a refresher, over 1,900 applications were received by ICANN (the internet's governing body) from entities who want to run their own TLD registry. Many of these applications have passed the examination period, have contractually signed off on becoming a registry, and have been added to the "root zone", a key step before a registry can be open for domain name registration. What does this mean for you and your business? Well, it's time to take action before it becomes too late.

The good news is that trademark owners are still able to take advantage of a central repository system, known as the Trademark Clearinghouse. The Trademark Clearinghouse is a mandatory inclusion in the pre-launch process of any new generic TLD (i.e., the sunrise periods listed above), as well as mandatory checkpoint once new domain names are registered. While this is certainly good news, the downside for our U.S. clients is that only those marks that have been federally registered will be eligible for deposit within the Trademark Clearinghouse – not common law marks; not state registrations; and not domain names. To recap, the benefit of the Trademark Clearinghouse for federal trademark owners is three-fold:

1. Sunrise Service

In order to participate in the sunrise period of any new TLD on the basis of prior trademark rights, a trademark owner must have its trademark registration deposited with, and validated by, the Trademark Clearinghouse. This means that for any generic TLD that is attractive to a trademark owner's business, trade, or industry (e.g., .food for our clients in the food and restaurant industry or clothing for our clients in the apparel industry), taking advantage of the Trademark Clearinghouse will allow you to seek the domain name identical to your registered trademark (yourmark.TLD). The TLDs that are now in their respective sunrise periods are listed below.

2. Trademark Claims Services

After the sunrise period closes and the new TLD becomes available to the public for domain name registration, each new TLD registry will be required to check new domain name registrations against the trademark registrations that have been deposited with the Trademark Clearinghouse for a period of 90 days. As such, if another entity or individual seeks a domain name registration that is identical to the trademark deposited with the Trademark Clearinghouse (e.g, yourmark.app), you will receive notice of that domain name registration and take appropriate action if warranted.

3. Uniform Rapid Suspension (URS)

Registration with the Trademark Clearinghouse can be used to support URS claims. The URS will be a counterpart to the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy ("UDRP") and is designed to handle the "clear cut" cases of cybersquatting and infringement. It is also purported to be a faster and less expensive version of the UDRP. However, URS claims will only be available to trademark owners who have had their rights "validated." As such, the registration process with the Trademark Clearinghouse will have satisfied this requisite validation.