New gTLD process: brand owners beware

Jonathan Bailey, of Plagiarism Today fame, has a post over at the Blog Herald: “Why We Don’t Need More Domain Extensions“.

As of last month, 4 new gTLDs had already been approved but more than 1,000 have made it passed the “initial evaluation stage”. Private auctions for new gTLDs where there is more than one applicant are starting.

The new gTLDs aren’t here yet but scary as it is, this is going to happen.

So, if you are a brand owner – or advise brand owners – and you haven’t been thinking about how you are going to deal with this, Jonathan’s post really serves as a timely warning to get your thinking cap on:

  • are you going to try and register any (and if so which) of your trade marks in any of these new gTLDs?
  • what steps are you going to take, if any, to make sure someone else is not registering one (or more) of your trade marks in one of these new gTLDs?

 

ICANN’s new gTLD timeline.

ICANN’s current status of applications listing.

Searchengineland’s take.

ICANN approves ‘historic’ new gTLD regime

ICANN’s board meeting in Singapore today voted to launch new top level generic names: apparently 13 voted for, 1 opposed and 2 abstained.

Currently, gTLDs there is a closed system, confined to 22 different types such as .com, .info, .biz etc.

Under the new plan, there won’t be any limits on what can be the top level domain. Thus, if Sony wanted to launch its own top level domain such as .sony or maybe .psp, it could apply to do so.

According to ICANN’s Chairman of the Board:

Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.

and

ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.

Some reports also indicate that so-called internationalised domain names have been approved; i.e., those using characters other than Latin letters – Chinese, cyrllic etc.

Applications for new gTLDs are planned to be open from January 2012 to April 2012.

It is expected that it will cost US$185,000 to apply.

There looks like lots of “fun” will be in order.

Some names will be “reserved”. (See page 2-8 of the Application Guidebook (really p. 60)). Then there will be questions of applicant suitability and DNS / technical stability.

There will be an objection process to deal with 4 types of disputes:

  • String Confusion Objection – The applied-for gTLD string isconfusingly similar to an existing TLD or to another appliedforgTLD string in the same round of applications.
  • Legal Rights Objection – The applied-for gTLD stringinfringes the existing legal rights of the objector.
  • Limited Public Interest Objection – The applied-for gTLDstring is contrary to generally accepted legal norms ofmorality and public order that are recognized underprinciples of international law.
  • Community Objection – There is substantial opposition tothe gTLD application from a significant portion of thecommunity to which the gTLD string may be explicitly orimplicitly targeted.

See page 3-4 (really p. 150) of Module 3.

For IP owners, there will be a trademark clearinghouse process and, after designation of new gTLDS, a post-delegation dispute resolution procedure.

So, if you own a trademark, you may want to start planning now about how you are going to protect your interests even if you don’t plan to set up your own cyberspace.

WTR and new gTLDs survey

World Trademark Review is running an online survey to gauge understanding of ICANN’s proposed new gTLDS and get some insight into what people are doing to prepare for these.

If you are a trademark professional or in “marketing”, participate here.

Australian government consults on new gTLDs

ICANN is considering introducing new gTLDs – the top level domains that come after the last “dot” in a domain name (e.g., .com, .au).

The Australian government is now seeking your views on what it’s position should be.

You can find out more, and the contact details, here (pdf).

Marty Schwimmer looked at some of the issues for someone thinking of introducing their own .brand (via here). More ICANN resources via here.

I didn’t see a deadline for submissions.

dot “brand” TLDs

ICANN is looking at introducing new top level domains where, instead of .com or .net, it would be .[brand] e.g., .sony (of course, I have no idea whether or not Sony would be thinking of such a TLD).

Marty Schwimmer looks at some of the things a brand owner who wished to have their own (top level) space on the internet would need to think about.