On November 6, 2013, Donuts, Inc., a registry for new gTLDs, announced that the “Sunrise” period for seven of its new gTLDs will begin on November 26. The included extensions are: .clothing, .singles, .holdings, .bike, .ventures, .guru, and .plumbing. Similarly, on November 13, the company introduced seven more new gTLDs to “Sunrise” on December 3. The added extensions are .camera, .equipment, .estate, .gallery, .graphics, .lighting, and .photography. The “Sunrise” period refers to the sixty day window during which trademark rights holders can exclusively secure relevant registration before general availability. The “Sunrise” period for the first seven Donuts gTLDs will close on January 24, 2014 and for the second seven gTLDs closes on January 31, 2014.

The tables below shows the current schedule for each gTLD:

 

Extension

Sunrise Date

Duration

General Availability

.clothing

11/26/2013

60 Days

02/05/2014

.singles

11/26/2013

60 Days

02/05/2014

.holdings

11/26/2013

60 Days

02/05/2014

.bike

11/26/2013

60 Days

02/05/2014

.ventures

11/26/2013

60 Days

02/05/2014

.guru

11/26/2013

60 Days

02/05/2014

.plumbing

11/26/2013

60 Days

02/05/2014

 

 

Extension

Sunrise Date

Duration

General Availability

.camera

12/03/2013

60 Days

05/12/2014

.equipment

12/03/2013

60 Days

05/12/2014

.estate

12/03/2013

60 Days

05/12/2014

.gallery

12/03/2013

60 Days

05/12/2014

.graphics

12/03/2013

60 Days

05/12/2014

.lighting

12/03/2013

60 Days

05/12/2014

.photography

12/03/2013

60 Days

05/12/2014

Top Level Domains (TLDs) are that portion of a domain name that appears after the last period. Up until a few years ago, only a limited number of TLDs were available to domain registrants. However, in 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board voted to remove the restriction on registration of general Top Level Domains (gTLDs). In January of 2012, the organization began accepting applications for new gTLDs. It received about 1,930 applications for new gTLDs.

One of the major applicants is Donuts, Inc. It is a start-up company which is currently the largest applicant of new gTLDs. During the application phase of the process, the company submitted 307 applications for new gTLDs. In July of this year, the company announced that it signed its first new gTLD registry agreement with ICANN. According to the agreement, Donuts will be administering .游戏, an internationalized domain name which translates to “games” in simplified Chinese characters. Subsequently, the company signed the following 12 registry agreements with ICANN: .bike, .camera, .clothing, .equipment, .estate, .guru, .holdings, .lighting, .singles, .ventures, .voyage, and .企业 (.enterprise, Simplified Chinese). These ten-year registry agreements will allow Donuts to manage each one of the registered gTLDs.

Second Level Domains (SLDs) are the names immediately to the left of the TLDs. SLDs usually identify the product or brand. This rapid expansion of TLDs means that SLDs will also be expanded as swiftly. Critics of ICANN’s decision to allow registration of gTLDs have identified enforcement problems that can arise as a result this expansion. To address this concern, ICANN launched the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). TMCH allows trademark rights holders to submit their trademark to a central repository. The rights holders will be notified when a potentially conflicting domain name is sought to be registered. Moreover, registration with TMCH provides the rights holders with the opportunity to register their mark during the “Sunrise” period. Without the registration, the rights holders will not be able to take advantage of the “Sunrise” application. The “Sunrise” period for seven of Donuts’ gTLDs will begin on November 26 and for the remaining seven will start on December 3.

The advent of new gTLDs has caused a great deal of excitement among trademark rights holders. The new gTLDs provide rights holders with new opportunities to develop more relevant, memorable and targeted spaces for their brands. However, this rapid expansion may lead to new challenges when it comes to policing one’s marks.