Protecting Your Brand By Registering With The New gTLD Trademark Clearinghouse

by Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC
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Why a new Trademark Clearinghouse?

Domain Name Extensions and TrademarksIn June of last year, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced it had received nearly 2,000 applications for approximately 1,400 unique new gTLDs or “strings,” for example .app, .llc, .auto, .realty, and .law. This is a huge number compared to the 22 gTLDs that currently exist in Latin-based scripts. As discussed in our recent webinar Domain Names and the New gTLDs: Protecting Your Trademarks Online, the introduction of new gTLDs presents significant enforcement issues for trademark owners because it will significantly increase the number of gTLDs on the Internet.

To assist trademark owners with the task of enforcement,  ICANN has now launched a Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). This TMCH allows brand owners to submit their trademark data into one centralized database, prior to and during the launch of new gTLDs.

Benefits of using the TMCH

Entering your trademarks in the TMCH has significant benefits:

  • Sunrise Registration – Every new gTLD registry will be required to interface with the TMCH database, to provide trademark protection services to brand owners by enabling “Sunrise Registration” services in each new gTLD registry. In other words, if your trademark is registered with the TMCH, you are much more likely to be able to register the corresponding domain name in a new gTLD.
  • Trademark Claims Services – New gTLD registries will also be required to provide “Trademark Claims” services, including notification of a trademark owner if a third party makes a conflicting domain registration. This service helps reduce the need to monitor new gTLD domain name registrations for potential cybersquatting issues.
  • URS Proceedings – Registration with the TMCH helps streamline Uniform Rapid Suspension (“URS”) System proceedings, which can be used to challenge specific domain name registrations in the new gTLDs. Because the TMCH serves the function of authenticating trademark information and verifying trademark rights information, a trademark owner involved in a URS proceeding can upload proof of TMCH validation, avoiding the need to submit other evidence showing registration and use of its mark.

With limited exceptions, all nationally registered marks from all jurisdictions, marks validated through a court of law or other judicial proceeding, and marks protected by statute or treaty are now eligible for entry in the TMCH.

What’s next?

Contact an authorized Trademark Clearinghouse service agent such as CSC if you would like more information about entering your marks in the TMCH.  You may also find more information, and register your marks directly at www.trademark-clearinghouse.com/. To discuss trademark strategy for your business, please feel free to contact DRM trademark attorney Cathy Stadecker.

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