The world of domain names now allows companies to apply to register generic Top-Level Domain Names (in geek speak gTLDs – .com, .org, .biz etc).

You can now register .nike or .apple but it’ll cost you US$185,000.

Companies that own gTLDs will be able to create and issue second level domain names – which is the part straight after the www (e.g. www.iphone.apple).

This all begs the question: How can I stop someone from registering a domain name that uses my trade mark?

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is launching the Trademark Clearinghouse on 26 March, to help trade mark owners protect their rights.

So how does it work?

From 26 March, on the payment of a much smaller fee to ICANN, registered trade mark owners will be able to register eligible trade marks with the Trademark Clearinghouse and obtain the following benefits:

  1. within 30 days of a gTLD being registered, you can secure second level domain names that use your trade marks before anyone else (e.g. so if someone registers .law, we can secure www.marque.law before anyone else); and
  2. you will be alerted by the Clearinghouse when someone registers a domain name that uses your registered trade mark.

What’s in it for you?

Did you know someone is seeking to register .sucks as a gTLD?

If .sucks gets registered, and if someone registers www.marque.sucks we’ll be notified and be able to take action to stop its use. Or we can register www.marque.sucks ourselves.

Actually this is pretty important, you might want to get onto it.