The new .XXX top-level domain is launching September 7, 2011. Given the purpose of the .XXX top-level domain, trademark owners of non-adult brands should be very focused on protecting their intellectual property rights.

Here are some quick facts about the .XXX top-level domain:

  • .XXX is reserved exclusively for the online adult entertainment industry.
  • The .XXX launch begins with the "Sunrise" phase, which is a limited period for trademark owners to protect brands before wider availability of domain names. The Sunrise phase is open September 7 - October 28, 2011.
  • Sunrise has two registration programs: Sunrise A and Sunrise B. Those wishing to register domains for adult brands use Sunrise A, while those wishing to proactively protect non-adult brands from non-legitimate use employ Sunrise B.
  • Beginning in December, any domain name not protected will be available for use by the adult entertainment industry.
  • ICM Registry administers this new top-level domain, and registrations are performed through many of the usual registrars (such as GoDaddy.com and Network Solutions).

You can visit ICM Registry's website to find more details on the .XXX launch and the Sunrise registration programs. You can also choose a registrar and use the Sunrise B registration to protect your trademark from non-legitimate use. Many registrars are currently supporting pre-registration for Sunrise B.

While the specifics are complicated, and more policies and procedures are forthcoming, two facts are clear:

  • The ability to proactively protect a non-adult brand is available during the Sunrise period, which is September 7 - October 28, 2011.
  • Protecting your trademark after the Sunrise period could prove more difficult and expensive.