In 2009 intellectual property owners, facing the possibility of hundreds of new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), which would open the floodgates for cybersquatting, worked with ICANN to create a Trademark Clearinghouse (“TMCH”). The TMCH provided trademark owners a central database that would valid their marks when each new gTLD went online. Registering their marks on the TMCH would relieve both trademark owners and the new administrators of gTLDs the burden of validating trademark rights each time a new gTLD came online. It was also viewed as an efficient way for trademark owners to obtain a Sunrise Registration. Generally, administrators of the new gTLDs have offered to register second level domains containing marks in the TMCH at similar or slightly higher prices than non-trademarked terms.
However, starting on Monday, March 30, 2015, Vox Populi will charge trademark owners $2,499 a year to register their TMCH listed trademark on its .SUCKS registry during the Sunrise Period. If an entity other than the trademark owner attempts to register a .SUCKS domain name after the Sunrise Period that contains a TMCH listed term, the cost would be between $9.95 and $249.95. Further, Vox Polpuli has announced that after the Sunrise Period ends, it will create a Sunrise Premium list from strings registered or blocked in other TLDs’ sunrise periods i.e., all the marks which are listed in the TMCH. The cost to register a .SUCKS domain from the Sunrise Premium list will also be $2,499. See https://www.nic.sucks/products.
On March 27, 2015, the Intellectual Property Constituency, which represents trademark owners in ICANN, has sent a strongly worded letter to Mr. Akram Atallah, the President of the Global Domains Division of ICANN, demanding that Vox Poluli’s actions be halted. A copy of the letter can be found here: http://www.ipconstituency.org/storage/Intellectual%20Property%20Constituency%20Communication%20to%20ICANN%20Regarding%20dot-SUCKS.pdf
The status of the .SUCKS registry is still in flux and the Sunrise Period does not end until May, 29, 2015. While the use of the .SUCKS gTLD can be a useful tool to fairly criticize companies or organizations the current proposal by Vox Populi is unduly expensive to trademark owners. The hope is ICANN recognizes the legitimate concerns of the IPC about Vox Populi and the parties work together to make the .SUCKS registry fair to all potential registrants.