.anything On Its Way: New Generic Top Level Domains Will Launch January 12

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The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced today that it has approved the plan for unlimited new gTLDs, and that ICANN will be taking applications from January 12 to April 12, 2012.

The nightmare of many brand owners fearing that ICANN would adopt a system of unlimited gTLDs is now reality. This is a dramatic change to the domain name system. Currently, the domain name system is limited to 22 "generic" gTLDs (.com, .org, .net, .info, .biz, etc.), in addition to country codes (e.g., .us, .uk, .cn), and certain special community-sponsored domains (e.g., the new .xxx for adult entertainment). Under the new guidebook, organizations located anywhere in the world will be able to apply to operate a gTLD that corresponds to just about any word or phrase, including an organization's name or brand.

Thus, instead of purchasing "yourbrand.com," Your Brand Corporation can purchase ".yourbrand." If Your Brand Corporation is, for example, a clothing company, it might map its divisions to corresponding second level domains: hats.yourbrand or shirts.yourbrand; or, it might choose to permit some of its trusted vendors to use the .yourbrand domain: yarnco.vendor.yourbrand, etc. Likewise, trade associations or other communities of interest might find that a new gTLD offers them new opportunities to map a domain to their organizational structure, activities and missions.

Please see full alert 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.

© Reed Smith | Attorney Advertising

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