In our earlier analysis about the introduction of .xxx domain names we indicated that there was likely to be a Sunrise period in which action could be taken to block such registrations which conflicted with earlier trade marks. It has now been announced that this period starts on 7 September 2011 and will run until 28 October 2011.

During the Sunrise period, brand owners outside the adult industry have the opportunity to apply to block registration of .xxx domain names consisting of their registered trade marks. In our note in June we summarised the logistics and the pros and cons of the process.

The ICM Registry (the registry responsible for administering the .xxx top-level domain) has provided an overview of the launch and of the blocking procedure complete with a short video. You may find the video a digestible summary of the process. Please note that the video suggests that brand owners can obtain permanent protection for a one-off fee. As we pointed out in June, this may be subject to renewal of ICM's contract with ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in ten years' time.

ICM has provided additional details on the procedures. In particular, paragraph 2.2.3 deals with eligibility for the blocking procedure (broadly, a trade mark registered before 1 September 2011 which is in force). Paragraph 2.6 addresses the approach to non-standard characters (such as "&"), numeric characters, accented characters and bilingual trade marks.

The ICM Registry also has a list of registrars. If you wish to use the Sunrise process to block a .xxx domain name you will need apply via a registrar.