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January 11, 2012

ICANN will now accept applications to operate new generic Top Level Domains

From 12 January 2012 to 12 April 2012 ICANN is accepting applications to operate new generic Top Level Domains (so called gTLDs). The change will in principle allow anyone to apply for a new generic Top Level Domain and, trademark owners will be able to register and run their own brand as a new Top Level Domain (eg .apple, or .volvo.) Others may choose to apply for new gTLDs such as .shop, .tourist, and .game, or geographic gTLDs as .berlin and .paris. In spite of the considerable costs associated with the registration process and fulfilling the requirements of running a new gTLD, it is expected that between 300-1000 new gTLDs will be applied for.

On 27 April 2012 ICANN will publish a list of all the new applied for (but not finally approved) gTLDs, Zacco will inform our clients about the contents of this list.

Trademark owners will then have 7 months to file a complaint with WIPO (”Legal Rights Objection”) against registration of a new gTLD. A complaint can be based on both registered and unregistered trademark rights.

Once the new gTLDs have been approved, trademark owners will have the possibility of being notified if a third party attempts to register a domain name containing their trademark under the new gTLD. This can be done by having your trademark registered in a so-called ”Trademark Clearing House”. The Trademark Clearing Houses have not been selected yet, and trademark owners will not be able to register their trademark in these Trademark Clearing Houses until the third quarter of 2012. Zacco will revert with more information in this regard.

As the new gTLDs are approved, there will be different ”sunrise periods” during which trademark owners can apply for second level domain names within the new gTLD before the general public can. Zacco will provide further information about these sunrise periods.

Zacco can provide further assistance concerning the new gTLDs or domain name matters in general. For further information about the new gTLDs, see www.icann.org.

For questions on domain names you may consult Isaac Keren (Sweden), Lone Prehn (Denmark), Anne Wildeng (Norway), Nils Köster (Germany) and Remy Meeuwse (Netherlands).

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