Top-Level Domain Names as Trademarks


The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently issued a precedential decision upholding the Trademark Office's refusal to register five applications for the mark .MUSIC in connection with a variety of goods and services, holding that .MUSIC is merely descriptive of the goods and services. A PDF copy of the decision is here. A company called theDot Communications Network filed these five intent-to-use applications in November 2008. It has no other applications pending that I can find.

This decision is among the first paragraphs in a new chapter of domain-related trademark issues that are arising in light of ICANN's roll out of new generic top-level domains next year. It is unsurprising that companies are attempting to secure trademark rights in top-level domains, since the new gTLD scheme is seemingly set up to encourage the Balkanization and proprietization of gTLDs. Verisign, the long time "owner" of the .com gTLD, among others, used to own this registration for ".COM .NET THE WORLD'S MOST TRUSTED NAMES." Verisign now has an application pending to register the tag line "THE WORLD IS CONNECTING BETWEEN THE DOTS," which it is using in connection with a rotating banner on its home page to promote its, .net, .gov, .name, and .tv.

Please see full article below for more information.

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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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