Protect Your Call Signs and Other Marks in the .xxx Domain


ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has approved the use of .xxx as a domain (like .com) for the adult entertainment industry. In September, broadcasters and others with registered marks will have an opportunity to reserve their marks defensively in the .xxx domain.

While adult-oriented website operators may be interested in reserving spots in the .xxx top level domain (TLD), broadcasters may be just as eager to prevent their call signs and other marks from being used in that TLD where they may be associated with adult content. The ICM Registry, which will operate the .xxx domain, will allow those who own registered trademarks to reserve .xxx domain names to prevent others from using their marks in that domain.

Beginning September 7, 2011, there will be a 30-day “Sunrise” period during which adult-oriented website operators will be able to register their marks and domain names in the .xxx TLD. Simultaneously, non-adult-oriented trademark owners can file to block use of their call signs and other marks in that domain, so long as those marks are nationally registered in the United States or any other country. Registered marks could include call signs, slogans or company names. For example, Google could secure a domain reservation for to prevent an adult-oriented company from actively using that domain name. In registering defensively, broadcasters would not gain use of the .xxx website, but rather would go a long way toward ensuring that no one else can use it for an adult-oriented website. Broadcasters will not be able to prevent use of unregistered marks or call signs, misspellings of registered marks, or mere domain names during the Sunrise period.

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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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