Applications for new gTLDs were filed in 2012 in the following categories:
- Over 80 applications were community-based (.doctor, .gay);
- Over 100 applications were for internationalized domain names (alphabets other than the Latin alphabet, e.g., Hangul, Cyrillic, Arabic);
- 34% of all applications were for brands (.CANON, .LOREAL); and
- 53% of the applications were generic (.app, .baby, .bank).
ICANN has implemented the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) as a method of protection against infringing 2nd level domain names (to the left of the dot, client@.brinkshofer). That registration of domain names will begin no earlier than April 2013, once the accepted gTLDs are live.
As of March 26, 2013, the TMCH performs two functions:
- Operation of the database for the pre-launch Sunrise registrations that the trademark owner may use for itself; and
- Validation and authentication of the rights submitted by trademark owners to stop the registration of infringing domain names in post-launch claims.1
WHAT ARE PRE-LAUNCH SUNRISE REGISTRATIONS?
Once operational, each new gTLD registry must provide a Sunrise registration process with the following functions:
- The Sunrise period is a minimum of 30 days prior to the launch of domain name registrations under the new gTLD by the public;
- TMCH listed marks serve as basis for Sunrise registration;
- Trademark owners with marks registered with the TMCH will receive notice of identical Sunrise registrations and subsequent registrations during the general registration period; and
- Proof of use of the trademark that is the basis for the Sunrise registration must be submitted.
WHAT ARE POST-LAUNCH TRADEMARK CLAIMS?
For those infringing domain name registrations filed post-launch of the domain name registry under the new gTLD registrations, ICANN has created the Trademark Claims Service with the following functions:
- This service recognizes all marks listed in the TMCH.
- If an identical domain name is registered under any of the new gTLDs, this service will contact the potentially infringing applicant for the domain name and the trademark owner with a mark on the TMCH.
- The applicant will be informed of the scope of the rights held on the TMCH.
- The trademark owner will be notified that an identical domain name registration has been completed.
- This contact period lasts for 60 days during a launch of domain name registrations.
- No proof of use is required.2
- The TMCH will NOT block domain name registrations.
WHAT ARE THE FEES?
- $145 for one year plus attorney fees;
- Volume discounts may be available.
WHAT ARE YOUR BENEFITS FROM TMCH REGISTRATIONS?
The TMCH will give the following benefits:
- Monitoring of identical domain name registrations for the new gTLD registrations;
- A centralized database for registration of marks to be protected against infringing domain name registrations;
- A cost-effective platform for Sunrise registrations; and
- Data for the Trademark Claims service which a trademark owner may file against an infringing domain name registrant.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE STRATEGIES?
- Determine if registrations are needed with the TMCH;
- Determine how long you need to register your marks;
- Determine what marks are used in your key markets;
- Determine which trademarks are essential to your online presence; and
- Review those trademarks which you registered to block .xxx registrations, if any, for relevance now.
- Determine if a domain name watch service is needed or should be expanded if already in place;
- Determine which Sunrise registrations are essential to serve marketing and business needs and the subsequent use of such registrations;
- Watch for changes in registry filings on crucial gTLDs;
- Determine what the competition is doing; and
- Update entire domain name portfolio management policies for filing, renewal, and enforcement purposes.