One of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved Domain Name Registries (Donuts Inc.) has now launched its 60 day Sunrise Period in respect of seven new generic top-level domains (gTLDs).
The new gTLDs have the following extensions:
.BIKE; .CLOTHING; .GURU; .HOLDINGS; .PLUMBING; .SINGLES; and .VENTURES
These new gTLDs will ultimately sit alongside existing domains, such as .com and .com.au. Donut Inc has, in fact, applied for several hundred new gTLDs and is expected to offer many more extensions in the near future.Businesses trading in relation to goods and services which might be associated with these extensions may be considering whether to secure domains in the new gTLD space.
For example, owners of bicycle brands such as MALVERN STAR; APOLLO and CANNONDALE may be considering whether a .BIKE domain might be a useful marketing tool moving forward? The official CANNONDALE website (directed to Australia) is currently located, for example, at:
Perhaps CANNONDALE might, in the future, also secure and use a domain in the new gTLD space created by .BIKE, so may have a website located at:
This .BIKE gTLD may become the "go to" domain (instead of .com or .com.au) for those interested in promoting anything related to "bikes" and for consumers looking for information concerning, or looking to purchase, bike related goods and services. It is a wait and see period for the new gTLDs to see if they do re-shape the internet we have been use to and if so to what extent.
The first pick of domain names within the new gTLDs will be offered during the Sunrise Period to trade mark rights holders who have registered their trade marks in the Trade Mark Clearinghouse (TMCH). The Sunrise Period will end in respect of the gTLDs we have listed above on 24 January 2014 and the general availability period (when any member of the public can register domain names in these new gTLDs) will then commence on 29 January 2014.
There have been a number of other interesting developments in the new gTLD space, including the recent ICANN introduction into the internet world of the very first new gTLDs, including:
Click here to view chart.
These gTLDs marked the first of a large number of gTLDs that are in non-Latin scripts. This signified a pivotal move by ICANN to demonstrate their efforts to create a more globally-inclusive Internet space moving forward.
The full list of officially delegated gTLD strings can be found on the ICANN website here http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/delegated-strings This list will be continually updated throughout the delegation period as new gTLDs come on line and enter the internet world.
What Steps Should Trade Mark Holders Take?
The introduction of the new gTLDs means that trade mark owners will now be faced with additional opportunities (to secure domains within the new gTLDs to promote their brands) and new challenges (to prevent unauthorised use by others in this ever widening on-line space).
As we have advised in previous articles, trade mark holders need to validate their trade marks through the TMCH database in order to be able to seek registration of a corresponding domain name during any relevant gTLD Sunrise Period. Please contact Karen Hayne or Ashleigh Fehrenbach of our Addisons team for any assistance in this regard.
Once an unknown concept, and something many thought would not eventuate given the many issues which needed to be addressed between the wide variety of stakeholders, the new gTLDs are now a reality and need to be considered and dealt with in your trade mark and brand protection and enforcement policies moving forward.