The internet is about to go through an important change. ICANN (the entity responsible for internet domains) is releasing HUNDREDS of new top level domains (TLDs). You are, undoubtedly, familiar with some of the 22 existing TLDs, such as “.com” or “.org” or “.net.” However, ICANN is in the process of releasing new TLDs (referred to as gTLDs) such as “.love,” “.guru” and “.sexy” and industry-specific terms like “.sales,” “.bank,” “.build,” “.food,” “.bike,” “.plumbing” and “.wedding” — even — “.pizza.”
These new gTLDs may have substantial marketing value. For example, there are certain advantages to owning an internet address, such as “financial.guru,” and many in the construction business may have an interest in a name like “quality.build.” In addition, the new gTLDs provide opportunities to leverage trademark rights. Owners with trademark registrations have certain additional rights under the ICANN rules that provide notice to trademark registrants that someone is trying to register their mark in conjunction with a gTLD. Trademark registrants also have certain rights in obtaining the rights to their registered trademark name on gTLDs.
The rules regarding the coming “land grab” for gTLDs are complex and often counter-intuitive. Many of the decisions depend on a clear understanding of traditional trademark rights in this evolving e-commerce context. Our firm has experience navigating gTLD issues. We are prepared to advise and help you secure the gTLD rights that protect your brand equity and maximize your business opportunities. Arthur Chaykin, a former Vice President of Law – Marketing & Sales for the Sprint Corporation, is heading up our internet, TLD and gTLD practice. Please feel free to contact Mr. Chaykin to discuss your needs in light of these important changes.