With the addition of new top level domains, such as .discount and .cheap, being offered, it is highly recommended to brand owners that they take additional registration steps with ICANN to protect their trademarked domains. ICANN has recently formed the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), which is a global, centralized database of domain names. The TMCH has been created so that brand owners can submit their trademark information to validate their rights to a particular mark and help protect such trademark holders during the expansion.
The TMCH provides what is known as the “Sunrise” service period to those that have registered with the TMCH, allowing trademark holders to have priority access to requested domain names associated with their trademarks before the general public is given access to the same.
Another service the TMCH provides is the Trademark Claims Service. This requires Registries to check new domain registrations against the TMCH database. Any registrations that match a registered domain with the TMCH, the Registry must notify the party attempting to register the domain name, and then the trademark holder if such party goes forward with that registration. This allows trademark holders to take immediate action towards any new domain registrations if it is infringing on their protected rights.
However, registration with the TMCH comes with a price. Base registration fees start at $150 per year for registration; $435 for a three-year registration; and $725 for a 5 year registration. Therefore, if a trademark owner has more than one or several marks to register, that owner should carefully plan which trademarks are to be registered and which ones should not be registered with the TMCH.
Looking for additional information that better explains the Trademark Clearinghouse and its services, or get assistance in determining which trademarks to register with the TMCH, contact one of our experienced attorneys.