In mid-2013, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) intends to launch over 1,500 new Generic Top Level Domain Names (gTLDs) which will have significant consequences for brand owners. As part of the launch, ICANN has established a Trade Mark Clearinghouse (Clearinghouse) to assist brand owners in protecting their trade mark rights.
Owners of registered trade marks, certain court validated common law marks and marks protected by statute or treaty may register such marks in one centralised database to authenticate their marks and protect against misuse prior to and during the launch of the new gTLDs.
The advantages of registering your company’s trade marks in the Clearinghouse once it opens include:
- Sunrise Period – Registrants in the Clearinghouse will have an exclusive opportunity to register domain names in each new gTLD during the “sunrise” period before registration is open to the general public provided the domain name corresponds with a trade mark registered in the Clearinghouse.
- Claims Period – Once a trade mark is registered in the Clearinghouse, the registrant will receive a notification when someone applies to register a domain name, within a new gTLD, identical to the trade mark registered in the database. The Clearinghouse does not, by itself, create any rights or operate as a bar to the registration of a domain name within a new gTLD. It merely serves to provide advance notice to the trade mark proprietors and new domain name registrants.
Registering your trade mark in the Clearinghouse is a cost effective way to help protect your trade marks against cybersquatting.
The Clearinghouse opens on 26 March 2013.