Cybersquatting and the New Internet: What Designers Should Know About the New gTLDs

by Ladas & Parry LLP
Contact

The Internet is about to become a more colorful place, and more stylish and enticing than .biz, .tv or even .xxx ever dreamed of. New gTLDs are “generic top-level domains” that are scheduled to be released on the Internet in the third quarter of 2013. What does this mean? To start, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the U.S. non-profit that coordinates the technical aspects of the Internet, is currently reviewing nearly 2,000 new gTLD applications for extensions such as .music, .Nike, and .Africa. The Internet will also become increasingly multi-lingual because it opens up the gTLD system to non-Roman characters. The international community may soon encounter the .بيتك (Arabic for “home”) and .时尚 (Chinese for “fashion”) extensions. By way of comparison, there are currently only 22 gTLDs (e.g., .com, .org, .net, etc.), restricted to the Roman alphabet. You can browse the full list of pending applications on line.

What does this mean for the design community? We can likely expect to see the .design gTLD as well as a variety of design-related extensions including .architect, .art, .build, .fashion, .green, .home, .homegoods, .hotel, .kitchen, .lighting, .photo, .photography, and .style. Eight companies with competing visions have applied for control over the .design extension. One Japanese applicant aspires “to foster a sense of professionalism and trust among design customers.” Another Canadian applicant purports to create “‘focal points’ around 11 key disciplines of design…intended to be communities of interest and commerce.” While it is too early to say who ICANN will ultimately accredit to run these new gTLD registries or whether the competing applicants will reach some sort of joint-venture settlement, the online design community will, for better or for worse, be affected.

In one scenario, the chosen registry might encourage professional development by restricting who gets to use .design (e.g., www.JaneSmithArchitects.design) and implementing cyberbullying policies with “rapid takedown policies.” In another (albeit less idealistic) scenario, the registry might simply allow more of a free-for-all (e.g., www.JaneSmithXXX.design). As designers, the time is now to weigh in on the usage and delegation of the new gTLDs. If you feel strongly about how the new gTLDs should be delegated, or believe that an applied-for gTLD infringes your intellectual property rights, ask your lawyer about filing a formal objection with ICANN through January 2013. You can also participate in the public comment period which has been extended through September 26, 2012.

What does this mean for brand owners and the creative industries? On one end, so as not to miss out on extended branding opportunities worldwide, they should take the time and energy to rethink their marketing strategies. The new Internet is expected to provide multi-lingual portals for online content. By way of example, those expanding into the Japanese market might hypothetically add a local dimension to their brand by using the “.コム” extension (Japanese for “.com”). Brand owners should also consider acquiring the relevant second-level domains (e.g., www.brand.design, www.brand.sale, etc.) when the new gTLDs are released. Although the potential options may seem overwhelming, even a small operation or freelance artist should consider investing in the development of a new gTLD website(s) in order to take advantage of the new Internet. The benefits of having increased brand exposure and accessibility imaginably outweigh the minimal cost of registering a domain name and creating and maintaining a simple website. On the other hand, starting now, brand owners need to be aware of increased exposure to cybersquatters and be financially prepared to enforce their intellectual property rights. It might even be a worthwhile investment of brand owners to purchase important second-level domains as a defensive move right off the bat as well as to deposit their valuable trademarks into the Trademark Clearinghouse. Starting in October 2012, IBM and Deloitte should begin accepting applications from trademark owners for the Trademark Clearinghouse, which will issue Trademark Claims alerts of new gTLD applications that are identical to the deposited trademark at an anticipated cost of US$150 per mark (with considerably lower annual renewal fees). This means if someone applies for www.yourbrand.design, you will be notified and can timely file an objection before the domain is sold to a non-deserving party. However, the Trademark Clearinghouse will not detect if someone applies for a domain that is confusingly similar but not identical to a deposited trademark. Therefore, in order to know when someone applies for www.urbrand.design or www.yourbrands.design, you should consider relying on a separate domain name watch service from a provider such as the Watch Service offered by Ladas & Parry for monitoring these matters.

The new gTLD initiative, which also generated over US$350 million in application fees to ICANN, is big business for domain speculators. If you encounter problematic domain names in the new Internet, new solutions will be available. The proposed Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) is intended to offer complainants a relatively inexpensive and quick remedy at US$300-500 where the offending domain may be redirected to a generic landing page for the remainder of its registration period. The traditional methodologies for transferring or deleting domain names, through cease and desist letters and dispute resolution proceedings (e.g., UDRP), remain available but are more costly and time-intensive.

As the new Internet takes shape, the collective identity of the online design community will be refined (or at least redefined). Being aware of the new gTLDs is one step towards preparedness.

A version of this article was originally published by Core77.com.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Ladas & Parry LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Ladas & Parry LLP
Contact
more
less

Ladas & Parry LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.