Published by LawTechie - June 21, 2011 - LawTechie

As discussed in our recent BusinessInsider.com article, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has voted to increase the number of generic Top Level Domain Names (e.g., .COM, .NET, etc…) from 22 to over 250. As Dow Jones put it, “The dot-com era is over. Welcome to the dot-anything age.”

Domain name and trademark owners will now have to monitor and enforce their rights on a virtually infinite variation of potentially infringing urls (e.g., www.mytrademark.com, www.anything.mytrademark, etc…). ICANN’s rights protection mechanisms will include the following:

Hoping to allay such fears, ICANN Senior Vice President Kurt Pritz testified that new gTLDs will have significant, robust rights protection mechanisms that do not presently exist in current gTLDs. Specifically, “mark holders will have the opportunity to register their marks in a single repository that will serve all new gTLDs, the Trademark Clearinghouse.”

Under the Clearinghouse plan, new gTLD registries would have to offer a pre-launch period during which registered trademark rights holders will have the opportunity to register their existing names in the new gTLD prior to general registration. Pritz added that “a Trademark Claims service will notify rights holders of domain name registrations that match marks in the Clearinghouse for a period of time at the beginning of general registration.”

Moreover, the BBC reports that, to offer new gTLDs, “it will cost $185,000 (£114,000) to apply for the suffixes, and companies would need to show they have a legitimate claim to the name they are buying.” It will be interesting to see how the law acclimates itself to the new technology.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.

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