Legal Alert: New Generic Top-Level Domain Name Application Procedures Are in the Home Stretch


New Generic Top-Level Domain Name Application Procedures Are in the Home Stretch

Assuming that the ICANN Board of Directors gives its final approval on June 20, Internet users will have their first opportunity to branch out beyond the familiar, limited set of Internet top-level domains (e.g., .com, .org, .net, .edu, .biz). With limited exceptions, these new flexible domain names—known as "New generic Top-Level Domains," or "New gTLDs"—can use any terminology the applicant desires, including the non-ASCII characters needed to accommodate languages that do not use Latin script. Although the exact timetable remains subject to change, ICANN plans to open an application window for the first group of applications in November 2011 that will last for up to three months. Trademark owners need to monitor this program for potentially infringing gTLDs, even if they do not intend to apply for any brand-based gTLDs. ICANN is taking a "speak now or forever hold your peace" approach to trademark protection, requiring the trademark owner to object to the registration of any potentially infringing gTLD.

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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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