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Expanding the Internet: What do ICANN’s New gTLD Applications Mean for Trademark Owners?

Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 | Posted by Lizbeth Hasse, Esq. | Labels: ,

One year ago, as part of a plan to expand the capacity of the Internet’s domain name system, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) began accepting applications for more generic top-level domain names (gTLDs). Currently, the well-known gTLDs include .com, .org, and .net, as well as some of the country indicators that have been repurposed, such as .tv and .es. Adding gTLDs will allow for exponentially more domain names. During the new gTLD application period, ICANN opened the door to any combination of three or more letters in most major alphabets: .blue, .school, .mcdonalds, .law or .商城. The possibilities might seem almost endless, but, on “Reveal Day,” ICANN disclosed a list of 1,930 applications for new gTLDs.  

What does this mean for trademark owners and businesses? Some procedures have been set up; some are still vague and in development. At this stage trademark owners can review the list of proposed gTLDs to determine whether their brands, products or industry names are impacted, and then decide the next step to take with ICANN or otherwise. 

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