Trademark owners have a new weapon in the battle against cybersquatters, just in time for the expected approval this year of over 1000 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .app, .news and domains in non-Latin script.
ICANN has launched the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), a central database where trademark owners can register their trademarks for 3, 5 or 7 years at a cost of $95 to $150 per trademark per year. Costs depend on the number of trademarks and length of registration with the TMCH.
Before the TMCH, trademark owners seeking to protect their trademarks from cybersquatters were forced to register all the applicable top-level domains. While the TMCH does not cover Top Level Domains such as .com, .net and .org and only alerts trademark owners of exact matches (not misspellings of trademarks or “trademark + additional term” variations), it serves as a “one stop shop” trademark database and alert system for the new gTLDs. So what exactly are the benefits?
Trademark owners who register their trademarks with the TMCH will receive notification if a third party registers a new gTLD for an identical trademark within a 60-day Trademark Claims period following Sunrise Registration. Such early notification allows trademark owners to take prompt action against infringers.
Additionally, new gTLDs must provide a 30-day Sunrise Registration period during which trademark owners can register for the new gTLDS ahead of the general public. Only trademarks recorded in the TMCH may be registered as new gTLD domain names during Sunrise Registration.
Brand owners should strongly consider taking advantage of the TMCH.