The Launch of the .xxx Top Level Domain Name - Protecting your Brand’s Reputation

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The organization that controls most of the Internet's gTLD's (generic top level domain names, such as .com and .net) has approved the use of .xxx as a new gTLD. That has a number of trade-mark owners worried about the potential for reputational risk or damage to goodwill with the registration in the .xxx domain of their brands. The .xxx gTLD is for use by those involved in the adult entertainment industry. For everyone else, the thought of a brand being associated with this gTLD is somewhat concerning.

To address the concerns of trade-mark owners, among others, particular procedures with respect to registration came into effect on September 7, 2011 and will run until October 28, 2011. This initial period, referred to as the "Sunrise Period" will enable trade-mark registrants to take steps to block the registration by a third party of their trade-mark in the .xxx gTLD. During the Sunrise Period, any trade-mark owner who wants to block the potential registration of their mark as a domain name can apply to have the trade-mark appear on a ‘reserved list’. Reserved names will be set aside indicating and cannot later be adopted by an applicant.

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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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