The Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) has announced that the notices sent as part of its Trademark Claims service appear to be deterring the registration of trade marks as domain names under the new gTLDs in the vast majority of cases.
The TMCH is a central database of verified trade marks, of which most are registered trade marks. Registration in the TMCH enables trade mark owners to benefit from, amongst other things, the TMCH’s Trademark Claims service.
The Trademark Claims service sends a Notice to a prospective domain name registrant informing them that they are attempting to register a domain name that matches a trade mark in the TMCH. If, after receiving and accepting the Notice, the domain name registrant opts to register the domain name, the trade mark owner receives a notification of the registration and can then decide whether to take any enforcement action on a case-by-case basis.
On 25 March 2014, the TMCH issued a press release stating that it has delivered over 500,000 Notices to prospective domain name registrants. The number is high when one considers that only a small number of the new gTLDs have entered the general availability phase and started accepting registrations from the general public.
The TMCH claims that in over 95% of cases the prospective domain name registrant did not opt to register the relevant trade mark as a domain name after receiving the Notice. It would therefore seem that trade mark owners who have submitted their trade marks to the TMCH, are deterring the registration of their trade marks as domain names under the new gTLDs and possibly avoiding, or at least reducing, the higher costs associated with enforcement action later down the line.
A copy of the press release is available here.