A new Top Level Domain especially for the adult industry has been launched. This has caused concerns that .xxx-Domain names could be misused to the detriment of companies that do not wish to be associated with such content. The following checklist gives a short overview of how to protect against misuse based on IP rights.

Sunrise period

The “sunrise period” during which trademark/domain holders could apply to permanently block eligible trademarks/ domains ended on 28 October 2011. If a name is successfully blocked, the corresponding domain will resolve to a standard web page informing that the name is reserved.

General availability

From 6 December 2011, remaining .xxx-Domains are open to everyone on a first come first served basis. Rightholders outside the adult industry who did not use the sunrise period can defensively apply for renewable, non-resolving domain names to protect their IP for brand names, personal names, or other names of interest under the following general requirements:

  • the name can consist of the letters A-Z, the numbers 0-9 and hyphens (hyphens cannot be placed at the beginning or end of the name, or in the third or fourth character position), and no part may be underlined;
  • the name must contain at least three characters but no more than 63.

The aim is to block anyone from using the .xxx-Domain as an Adult website.

Post-launch enforcement mechanisms

In case of abusive registrations, rightholders can rely on the following dispute resolution procedures:

  • Rapid Evaluation Service (RES): rapid takedown in case of abuse of well-known, distinctive trade or service marks or personal or professional names of individuals;
  • Character Eligibility Dispute Resolution Procedure (CEDRP): challenging improperly registered .xxx-Domains;
  • Uniform Domain Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP).

Repeatedly abusive registrants may be disqualified from maintaining or registering .xxx-Domains. More detailed information can be found on the website of the registry, www.icmregistry.com.

Rightholders outside the adult industry who did not use the sunrise period can defensively apply for renewable, non-resolving domain names to protect their IP for brand names, personal names, or other names of interest.