In anticipation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) allowing private ownership of a significantly broadened scope of generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), ICANN, on March 26, 2013, launched the Trademark Clearinghouse, which gives holders of verified trademark rights an opportunity to register their marks with the Trademark Clearinghouse before new gTLDs are allowed. Among others, nationally and regionally registered marks from any jurisdiction are eligible for registration with the Trademark Clearinghouse.
The Trademark Clearinghouse provides holders of verified rights in marks with a process to register their marks and essentially receive priority rights (through the so-called "sunrise service") and notification services (through the so-called "trademark claims service"). The sunrise service, which provides registrants with the advance right to register second-level domain names upon approval of new gTLDs, requires that the registrant provide proof of use of the mark by declaration or mark sample. The trademark claims service simply provides registrants with notice of other second-level registrations that include the registrant's mark.
Being a global, centralized depository of marks, the Trademark Clearinghouse is not a forum for managing legal rights or adjudicating disputes involving marks. It does, however, provide a verified mark holder with an opportunity to protect its rights in its brands on the Internet.