Earlier this month, we worked with Deb Wilcox to alert hospitality companies about their ability to “prerequest” specific .xxx domain names so they could get a jump on the defensive registration process.

If you took our advice, you likely already know that the ICM Registry has recently published its final .XXX Launch Overview.  If you didn’t preregister, or you just haven’t had time to review the launch process, we have summarized some of the highlights below.  For more detailed information, take a look at the FAQs published by ICM.

  • Both Sunrise A and Sunrise B will run concurrently for 30 days beginning on September 7th.  Previously, the ICM Registry planned on opening Sunrise B after Sunrise A concluded.
  • Sunrise B is aimed at “non-members of the Sponsored Community,” or most hospitality companies.  Sunrise A is aimed at those who provide sexually-orientated content. 
  • During Sunrise B, owners of nationally registered trademarks will be able to apply for a .xxx domain name and secure the right to prevent others (i.e., a porn operator) from operating a site with a domain name that corresponds to the protected trademark.
  • To be eligible for the Sunrise registration, the registered trademark (i) must have been issued prior to the submission of the Sunrise application, (ii) in a jurisdiction where the applicant conducts “substantial bona fide commerce” in connection with the mark, and (iii) must be an exact match to the .xxx domain.  If a trademark holder wishes to reserve more than one .xxx domain name, a separate application must be submitted for each.    
  • Hospitality companies that participated in the pre-registration process still must file a Sunrise application, but will receive priority over subsequent applicants.
  • If a Sunrise B application is successful, the registered domain name will be designated “reserved – trademark” and will not be available for registration during the subsequent “Landmark” or “General Availability” periods. The domain name will simply redirect to a standard informational page indicating that the domain is not available.
  • In the event of a conflict between Sunrise A and Sunrise B applicants, both parties will be notified of the conflict and the Sunrise A applicant will have the opportunity to withdraw its application.  If both parties elect to proceed with their applications, the registration of the domain name to the Sunrise A applicant will continue but the Sunrise A applicant will not be able to claim lack of notice in any subsequent dispute proceeding.

Failure to follow the Sunrise process won’t block trademark owners from recovering .XXX domain names through existing anti-cybersquatting mechanisms, such as UDRP complaints.  But that process is likely to be much more expensive than the Sunrise B protocol.  It could also prove to be highly embarrassing given the content the cybersquatter may chose to associate with your brand.