Clifford Gouldson Lawyers

New Top Level Domain Names & Your Trade Mark

Print Version

5/12/2013

With up to 1400 new top level domain names on the way in the next few years businesses need to be aware of how their trade mark may be impacted.
 
In the 1980’s the world of academia began communicating through the internet.
 
In 1985 many of the restrictions on the internet were removed to enable commercial traffic.
 
In January 1985 the .com generic top level domain (gTLD) was created.  A gTLD is the suffix at the end of a web address, for example, ‘com’, ‘org’, ‘net’,  ‘edu’, ‘gov’, ‘mil’, and ‘arpa’ (there were only 7 gLTDs in 1985, but were 22 at the end of 2012).
 
In 1991 the world wide web was created.
 
In 2013 ICANN (the Internet Corporation for the Assigning of Names and Numbers) published a framework for the introduction of new gTLDs.  From 29 November 2013, and gradually over the next 2 or 3 years, up to 1400 new gTLDs will be released.  gLTDs like ‘bike’, ‘clothing’, ‘guru’, ‘holdings’, ‘plumbing’, ‘singles’, and ‘ventures’ were all released on 26 November 2013, with more to come consistently over the years to follow.
 
Along with the additional opportunities for all businesses (CG Law might want to register www.cglaw.law) comes some challenges.  Registered trade marks (like our CGLaw trade mark) will come under attack if opportunists start to register domain names that could dilute the brand value of a registered trade mark.
 
The Trademark Clearing House is ICANN’s solution to some of the problems posed by the new gTLDs.  You can register your registered trade mark (and in some cases Court recognised common law trade marks) with the Trademark Clearing House, and if anyone tries to register a domain name which clashes with your registered trade mark, you will be notified of that registration, and have an opportunity to challenge it. 

Most importantly, before any gTLDs will be available to the public for registration you will have a Sunrise Service period of 60 days to register the new domain name yourself (so when ‘law’ is available we could register www.cglaw.law if we utilise the Trademark Clearing House (run by Deloitte and IBM)).
 
To learn more watch the YouTube video at the following address:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=c9eehqeZkEc
 

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