Important Notice for Trademark Owners: Protecting Rights In Light of New Adult-Entertainment Domains


Earlier this year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) approved .XXX as a sponsored top-level domain (“sTLD”). ICM Registry, which operates the .XXX registry, will launch the .XXX sTLD on September 7, 2011. ICM Registry has explained that the .XXX sTLD “is designed specifically for the global adult entertainment industry as a trusted brand, globally recognized and extolling responsible and safe behavior.”

From September 7, 2011 until October 28, 2011, there will be two concurrent procedures for reserving domain names using the .XXX sTLD: Sunrise A and Sunrise B. Sunrise A allows members of the adult entertainment industry to apply to register .XXX domain names. To participate in Sunrise A, these applicants must own either an active registered trademark for the domain they seek to register or already own a domain name with the same letter string under another top level or country-level domain (“gTLD” or “ccTLD”).

Sunrise B allows trademark owners outside the adult entertainment industry to attempt to reserve or “block” their marks from use as .XXX domain names. By filing a Reservation Request, trademark owners may apply to reserve a domain name that matches the entire textual element of any of their active trademark registrations that were issued before September 1, 2011. A successful Reservation Request will result in a “blocking” domain name registration that is valid for 10 years. The trademark owner holding such a blocking domain will not be permitted to use the domain to access its own website or to link to another site. Rather, the blocked domain name will simply resolve to a standard informational page generated by the registrar. Trademark owners must file their Reservation Requests through one of ICM Registry’s accredited registrars, listed on the ICM Registry site...

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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.

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