The Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) recently approved the creation of a new top level domain, “.xxx,” which is now available for registration and use. The launch of this new domain requires careful study and consideration by registered trademark or service mark owners who want to block their registered trademarks or service marks from being registered under the “.xxx” domain names.

In short, a “blocking program” now available via designated registrars for “.xxx” domains will enable brand owners from outside the adult entertainment industry to pay a one-time fee to block “.xxx” domain registration of certain keyword strings matching their existing registered trademarks or service marks. Please note that two early “Sunrise” application periods, Sunrise A and Sunrise B, are presently available for “.xxx” domains. While Sunrise A is for brand and current domain owners from within the adult entertainment industry seeking to register their marks as “.xxx” domains, Sunrise B is being provided for trademark and service marks owners outside that industry who wish to block and protect their brands from being registered by others as a “.xxx” domain. In this respect, the Sunrise A and Sunrise B application periods will run concurrently through October 28, 2011. If a Sunrise B blocking application is approved, then the subject trademark or service mark would be blocked from registration as a “.xxx” domain for a period of at least 10 years.

Please note that orders can now be placed for registered trademarks and service marks to be added to the “block list,” with respect to the Sunrise B period now underway. If you are interested in having us assist you with the “.xxx” domain blocking program, including filing of a Sunrise B application on your behalf and/or providing further details regarding application requirements and criteria, we would be happy to work with you upon your request (please note, the estimated total cost of applying for blocking of a subject mark from “.xxx” domain registration runs approximately $350 USD per mark, with package discounts being available if five or more marks are the subject of Sunrise B applications for the same trademark or service mark owner).