ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) which is responsible for the internet naming system has recently announced that the first top-level domain program (gTLD) can start as early as this November. Currently, the Internet operates 22 top-level domains (top-level domain is a domain part following a point, e.g. .com, .net, .org, etc.). The new program will offer more than 1,400 new top-level domains, which will be composed of terms such as, .beer, .diet, .movie, .auto and so on.
However, even with previously existing 22 top-level domains the web space has become a playground for different frauds including violations of proprietors’ trademark rights. Top-level domain expansion from 22 to more than 1,400 will make the trademark protection much more complex. For this reason ICANN released a new online centralised trademarks database Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) in order to help trademark proprietors protect their marks against a variety of violations on the Internet and to register their trademark with the new top-level domain (e.g., the trademark METIDA may be registered as metida.law or metida.atorneys domain). Trademark proprietors who will be registering their trademarks on this new database will be able to take advantage of two programs that can give them certain benefits.
One of the programs will offer individuals, who have registered their trademarks on TMCH database, the opportunity to register their trademark with the new top-level domain through the so-called sunrise period, before these top-level domains will become available to the general public and anyone will be able to purchase them. Another program will allow TMCH registered members to receive a warning message that someone is trying to register a top-level domain in which there is a trademark of a TMCH member.
This year on 29th October a new 60-day sunrise period for new top-level domains begins:
The trademark proprietors participating in TMCH program can now register these top-level domains. After the end of sunrise period anyone willing will be able to register these top-level domains. Trademark proprietors can register their trademarks on TMCH database for one, three and five years. Registration costs are $150, $435 and $725 respectively.
In order to take advantage of the benefits of these two new services the trademark proprietors should register as soon as possible on TMCH virtual trademark database if they still have not yet done so.