New “Generic” Top-Level Domains Need a New Name

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.
Contact

[author:

In case you did not yet hear the news, ICANN at long last revealed this week the new applied-for strings in the new gTLD program. If you are unfamiliar with what this is, ICANN will be expanding the number of available so-called ”generic” top-level domains (gTLDs) for use in Internet domain name addresses. A top-level domain is the thing to the right of the dot, like .com, .net, and .org. A “generic” TLD is principally distinguished from the two-letter “country code” TLDs, like .us, .ca, .uk, etc. (“ccTLDs”). There are twenty one gTLDs right now — here’s some background from Wikipedia. Prior DuetsBlog coverage is here.

I have finally perused the entire list of 1930 newly applied-for gTLD strings (online here, statistics here), and there are many, many interesting things to discuss. First of all, as a trademark attorney, I see an issue bubbling up with respect to the category name “generic” top-level domain. The revealed list of strings includes numerous well-known brands that have been applied for by their owners. There is nothing generic about most of these “branded” strings, particularly if they are associated with a company selling goods and services under the relevant brand. Most people familiar with the new TLD process and trademarks will be able to distinguish the meaning of “generic” in the context of a TLD, but this is a good example of how this push for new TLDs has already outstripped its own lexicon. Words matter, and we need a new word for these TLDs, or we need to distinguish between “branded” TLDs and truly “generic” TLDs — words like ART and STORE and TEAM. The new TLD process itself already distinguishes between “community” and “geographic” TLDs.

Secondly, I continue to wonder about the viability of new TLDs on a practical level. For instance, did you know that .jobs has been a TLD since 2005? Have you ever surfed a .jobs website? How about a .pro site? Been to a .coop site? I didn’t think so. These generic TLDs have been around a while, and I assume each has made its own marketing push, but it seems to me that none of them have taken off. Perhaps the new TLD effort will finally shake us all out of our .com paradigm, but it is probably going to take major marketing efforts to do so. In that regard, some of the new branded TLDs might finally break the mold. Advertising will have to whet people’s appetites to surf beyond .com, and my bet is on domains like .nike, .mcdonalds, .apple, and .google, to name just a few.

Third, it is really interesting to compare the approaches of several large companies in the new TLD process. It appears that Apple applied for only one TLD:  .apple. In contrast, it appears that Microsoft applied for eleven TLDs, Amazon applied for about 76 TLDs, and Google applied for more than 100 TLDs. (I say “appears,” because it seems that some companies used proxies, agents, or subsidiary or related companies for their applications, so my counts are based on obvious identifying information in the list.) Perhaps these differences can be accounted for in the different business models and focus of each company, but clearly Google and Amazon are betting on the new paradigm much more than Apple and Microsoft. There is much more to say about these four companies alone in light of this data, perhaps in a future post.

I think that the most applied-for string was APP, with thirteen applicants for that string, including Amazon and Google. It appears that neither Apple nor Microsoft applied for it. Recall that these latter two companies are currently fighting about Apple’s attempt to register APP STORE as a trademark.

Also, as an assurance that the First Amendment is alive and well, there are three applications for SUCKS.

And the creepy award goes to Google, which applied for the following strings:  BABY, DAD, DOG, FAMILY, HOME, KID, and MOM, among many other generic and proprietary strings (way more generic than proprietary).

Last but not least, rights holders should LOOK NOW at both the list of strings and at the various responsive procedures available. First, public comments can be made now though August 12, 2012. Second, there are a number of formal objection procedures, all of which I believe are scheduled to run from now through January 13, 2013Here is a good, succinct overview of the formal objection procedures, and many details are in Module 3 of the Applicant Guidebook. These formal procedures include objections based upon legal rights (i.e. registered or unregistered trademark rights, among others), and I recommend filing sooner rather than later, given the many hiccups in the new TLD processes so far.

Written by:

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.
Contact
more
less

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. 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.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!