Launch of brand protection service for adult oriented gTLDs

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

[co-author: Laetitia Arrault]

The Registry Minds + Machines Group Limited (MMX), which owns 32 new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) such as .VIP, .WORK or .LUXE, has recently launched a blocking service that enables trade mark holders to protect their rights across the adult namespace.

This new service enables trade mark holders to block domain name registrations under the four adult oriented gTLDs XXX, .PORN, .ADULT, and .SEX that are operated by ICM Registry, which was acquired by MMX last year.

According to MMX’s press release, this service allows “trademark holders to affordably block both exact match terms […] as well as the many look-alike variations that can be easily generated by bad actors using alternate IDN scripts and homoglyphs to spoof users to visit websites containing malicious code used in phishing and malware scams.”

There are indeed two blocking mechanisms in place, which are called AdultBlock and AdultBlock+. They both afford protection across the four adult-themed new gTLDs but their scope is different.

The AdultBlock service allows trade mark owners to block terms that are either already registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) or already registered in the Sunrise B program. As Anchovy News readers may recall, Sunrise B was a program that was put in place at the launch of .XXX in 2011 to enable trade mark holders to block .XXX domain name registrations matching their trade marks. The AdultBlock service only covers one term (label) that exactly matches the trade mark.

The AdultBlock+ service significantly increases the level of protection. Contrary to the AdultBlock service, it is not limited to one label and allows trade mark holders to block all of the labels that are contained in the record (SMD file) of their trade mark registered at the TMCH, or all of the available labels derived from the trade mark used in the .XXX Sunrise B program. For example, for a trade mark HOGAN LOVELLS, labels would include both “hoganlovells” and “hogan-lovells”. In addition, the AdultBlock+ service blocks all of the confusingly similar homoglyph variations of the trademarked terms/labels in all languages and scripts supported by the Registry. Using the example of a trade mark BANK, variations would include “bànk”, “Ьαnk”, “Ьanκ”, “Banκ” and thousands of others.

Brand owners whose trade marks are registered at the TMCH and those who participated in Sunrise B may wish to consider this blocking service to protect their rights in the adult namespace. The AdultBlock+ service is certainly interesting in view of the increasing trend by unscrupulous parties to register look-alike variations of trade marks in order to deceive internet users.

This post is selected from our Anchovy News publication: Anchovy® is our comprehensive and centralised online brand protection service for global domain name strategy, including new gTLDs together with portfolio management and global enforcement using a unique and exclusive online platform developed in-house.

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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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