ICANN New Top-Level Domain Names Update

As I had previously reported, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced that it received nearly 2,000 applications for new generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) names. The most popular was “.app,” which was requested by thirteen applicants including Google and Amazon.

While entities have traditionally been limited to Internet extension such as .com, .net or .org, ICANN is now allowing businesses, organizations, and governments to operate a gTLD of their own choosing.

ICANN data reveals that most of the applications (911) came from the United States, while 675 came from Europe, 303 from the Asia Pacific, and 24 from Latin America. ICANN has also released a list of which organizations have applied for which specific domain names. Several notable companies like American Express, BMW, and Apple applied for gTLDs, likely to protect their well-known brands from any confusion. However, other companies like Facebook and Twitter did not apply for domain names with their trademarks, suggesting that the tech companies either aren’t buying into the new domain name boom or have elected to take a defensive approach.

The next step is a lengthy evaluation process. The applications will now be subject to a public comment and objection period, and a rigorous, objective and independent evaluation system, according to ICANN.  The Objection period started on 13 June and was originally scheduled to end seven months later.  However, feedback to ICANN from the community prompted an extension  to 13 March 2013.  Also announced in May, Professor Alain Pellet was appointed as the Independent Objector for the New gTLD Program.

“A 60-day comment period begins today, allowing anyone in the world to submit comments on any application, and the evaluation panels will consider them,” said Pritz. “If anyone objects to an application and believes they have the grounds to do so, they can file a formal objection to the application. And they will have seven months to do that.”

Successful applicants for the new gTLD names will be active starting next year, according to ICANN.

What Do the New gTLDs Mean for Businesses?

While the new domain names offer additional opportunities for businesses to market their brands, they also come with risks, notably trademark abuse and cybersquatting. Therefore, companies should develop a strategy for addressing the new domain names.  One suggestion has been to create a Trademark Clearinghouse.  Both Deloitte and IBM are working with ICANN on implementing  the Clearinghouse.  A “Strawman Solution” was posted on the ICANN site for public comment.

Now that the application data has been released, the first step should be to review the list of applications to see if another entity has filed an application for a gTLD that represents your brand or trademark. In many cases, it is possible to file a formal objection with ICANN.

How Can I Help?

If you, or someone you know, need advice on protecting a trademark or a domain name , please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +



One thought on “ICANN New Top-Level Domain Names Update

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