Posted by Sequel on March 24, 2014
Topic: ICANN
Tags: Domain Names, New TLDs
Have You Protected Your Trademarked Names on the New Domain Name Structure?

If you haven’t yet protected all of your trademarks from violation in the newly expanding Internet domain name space, the time to act is now.

The Internet is in the early stages of the biggest change since it was founded as the number of global Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) explodes from just 22 to more than 1,300. Rapidly disappearing are the days of .com, .net, maybe .biz being sufficient gTLDs for most companies to cover their trademarked names.

Now we are entering an era with a plethora of domains available, from .company to .guitars, .systems to .buzz and hundreds in between.

Already, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)’s Trademark Clearinghouse has noted that “unknown entities” have pre-reserved domains for a significant percentage of trademarked UK companies. While similar data isn’t available for the United States, there’s no reason to believe it would be much different.

Obviously, you need to walk a careful line here. Registering your company’s name with 1,300 domain extensions could become a costly undertaking. On the other hand, allowing trademark dilution by ignoring potential confusion among arguably useful domains could be more costly.

The good news is that ICANN is now open for what it terms “Sunrise Period Registration” through its Web site at http://trademark-clearinghouse.com. There, you can submit your trademarks, provide proof of their validity, and protect yourself against potential infringers.While the first few of these Sunrise Dates have come and gone, the  majority are still in the future so there’s time to get your trademarks registered before someone poaches them and publishes them online.

If that happens, the ICANN procedures have what appear to be  well-thought-out protection and recovery mechanisms in place, but they will of course cost you money and time.

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