The first nine new generic top-level domain name spaces (gTLDs) in English1 are expected to go live on or around October 29, 2013. These first nine domain spaces to join existing gTLDs like .com and .net are: .camera, .clothing, .equipment, .guru, .holdings, .lighting, .singles, .ventures and .voyage. Up to a thousand more new gTLDs are expected to launch in the following months. One of the most thorough lists of estimated launch dates is maintained here, and a searchable list of all gTLD applications is available here.
For either a thirty day or sixty day “Sunrise Period,”2 all new gTLD registries will permit brand owners to register domain names proactively, but only if applicants have previously recorded their trademark registration details for an identical or nearly identical trademark in the newly created Trademark Clearinghouse. For a prior update with more detail on Clearinghouse eligibility requirements, please click here.
Registering your key trademarks with the Clearinghouse prior to the Sunrise Periods for gTLD launches will help ensure that you will be to able register important domain names corresponding to your marks before the general public (or cybersquatters) have the chance to register those domains. Indeed, registering your key trademarks during the Sunrise Period is a good first step in protecting your valuable brands on the ever-changing internet. Recording marks with the Clearinghouse typically takes two weeks or less, so there is still time to qualify for the first group of Sunrise Periods.
Next steps. If you would like to prepare your business for upcoming new gTLD Sunrise Period launches, please contact Erin Hennessy, Matt Schneller, Jennifer Ashton, or any of the Bracewell & Giuliani attorneys with whom you usually work.
1 Four domains in non-Western characters were delegated on October 21, 2013: ???? (the Arabic word for “Web” or “Network”); ?????? (Russian for “Online”); ???? (Russian for “Web site”); and ?? (Chinese for “Game”)
2 A thirty day minimum applies if the Sunrise Period closing date was announced at least sixty days before its close and a sixty day minimum applies otherwise