On 6th November 2013 Donuts, Inc, a registry for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), announced that the sunrise period for seven of its new gTLDs would begin on 26th November. The included extensions are '.clothing', '.singles', '.holdings', '.bike', '.ventures', '.guru' and '.plumbing'. Similarly, on 13th November the company introduced seven more new gTLDs to sunrise on 3rd December. The added extensions are '.camera', '.equipment', '.estate', '.gallery', '.graphics', '.lighting' and '.photography'. A sunrise period is a 60-day window during which trademark holders can exclusively secure relevant registration before general availability. The sunrise period will close on 24th January 2014 for the first seven Donut gTLDs and on 31st January 2014 for the second seven gTLDs.

The tables below show the current schedule for each gTLD:

Extension

Sunrise date

Duration

 General availability

'.clothing'

26th November 2013

60 days

5th February 2014

'.singles'

26th November 2013

60 days

5th February 2014

'.holdings'

26th November 2013

60 days

5th February 2014

'.bike'

26th November 2013

60 days

5th February 2014

'.ventures'

26th November 2013

60 days

5th February 2014

'.guru'

26th November 2013

60 days

 5th February 2014

'.plumbing'

26th November 2013

60 days

5th February 2014

 

Extension

Sunrise date

Duration

General availability

'.camera'

3rd December 2013

60 days

12th May 2014

'.equipment'

3rd December 2013

60 days

12th May 2014

'.estate'

3rd December 2013

60 days

12th May 2014

'.gallery'

3rd December 2013

60 days

12th May 2014

'.graphics'

3rd December 2013

60 days

12th May 2014

'.lighting'

3rd December 2013

60 days

12th May 2014

'.photography'

3rd December 2013

60 days

12th May 2014

TLDs are that portion of a domain name that appears after the last period. Up until a few years ago, only a limited number of TLDs were available to domain registrants. However, in 2011 the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board voted to remove the restriction on registration of gTLDs. In January 2012 ICANN began accepting applications for new gTLDs. It received about 1,930 applications for new gTLDs.

One of the major applicants is Donuts, Inc, a start-up company and currently the largest applicant of new gTLDs. During the application phase of the process, the company submitted 307 applications for new gTLDs. In July 2013 the company announced that it had signed its first new gTLD registry agreement with ICANN. According to the agreement, Donuts will be administering an internationalised domain name which translates to 'games' in simplified Chinese characters. Subsequently, the company signed the following 12 registry agreements with ICANN: '.bike', '.camera', '.clothing', '.equipment', '.estate', '.guru', '.holdings', '.lighting', '.singles', '.ventures', '.voyage', and '.enterprise' in simplified Chinese). These 10-year registry agreements will allow Donuts to manage each one of the registered gTLDs.

Second-level domains (SLDs) are the names immediately to the left of the TLDs. SLDs usually identify the product or brand. This rapid expansion of TLDs means that SLDs will also be expanded as swiftly. Critics of ICANN’s decision to allow the registration of gTLDs have identified enforcement problems that can arise as a result of this expansion. To address this concern, ICANN launched the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). TMCH allows trademark holders to submit their trademark to a central repository. The rights holders will be notified when a potentially conflicting domain name is sought to be registered. Moreover, registration with TMCH provides the rights holders with the opportunity to register their mark during the sunrise period. Without the registration, the rights holders will not be able to take advantage of the sunrise application. The sunrise period for seven of Donuts’ gTLDs begun on 26th November and for the remaining seven on 3rd December.

The advent of new gTLDs has caused a great deal of excitement among rights holders. The new gTLDs give them new opportunities to develop more relevant, memorable and targeted spaces for their brands. However, this rapid expansion may lead to new challenges when it comes to policing one’s marks.

This article first appeared in IAM magazine. For further information please visit www.iam-magazine.com.  in the author field if locked - at bottom of article if unlocked.