Reveal Day for New Top-Level-Domains

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ICANN has revealed the applicants for new generic top-level-domains (gTLDs). (See our earlier post: Let a Thousand. Flowers Bloom? Update on New gTLDs) This is the list of companies and organizations that want to run their own domain registry, though the new domains have not yet been approved by ICANN. Some points to note:

  • Many of the applicants will walk away empty-handed. For example, there are 12 applications for the .APP domain, and only one one of them will be awarded the right to establish that domain.
  • A number of global trade-mark owners have staked their claim in this new space - for example, the owners of the APPLE, AUDI, FORD and AMERICAN EXPRESS brands have each applied to establish these brands as gTLDs.
  • Yes, someone has applied to establish .FLOWERS, as predicted in our earlier post… there are four applications for this domain.
  • Some brand owners have elected to go with generic applications - for example, both Safeway and Walmart applied for .GROCERY
  • Internationalized domains are part of the list, including 삼성 (That’s SAMSUNG in Korean).
  • Google appears to be among the most enthusiastic applicants. They established a separate company - Charleston Road Registry Inc. - to apply for more than 100 top-level-domains.

ICANN is pitching this as “The day it all becomes clear”, but the process is far from it. An “objection period” for new gTLDs now begins and ICANN states that this period “is intended to remain open for approximately seven months”. Not exactly clear. The proposed “Trademark Clearinghouse” is also not yet established, though this will be critical for brand owners to manage rights protection issues when the new registries are launched. Stay tuned.