ICANN held a public meeting in Cairo earlier this month. One of the main topics, as the video shows, discussed was the release of the new gTLDs. The discussions centered around the release of the Applicant Guidebook, which is a publication for entities considering applying for a new generic top-level domain name. Several discussions and meetings centered upon the new generic top-level domain names, the process for applying, and other information that can be found at ICANN’s new webpage dedicated to new gTLD’s here.
Trademark owners interested in acquiring a new gTLD should review the Applicant Guidebook, provide comments, and determine whether or not it is something they would like to pursue. All trademark owners should be aware of the process and understand that their trademarks must be protected as new gTLDs, and the domain names that utilize those new gTLDs, are released. Objection opportunities exist before a gTLD is approved. In fact, the Guidebook states:
The independent dispute resolution process is designed to protect certain interests and rights. The process provides a path for formal objections during evaluation of the applications. It allows certain parties with standing to have their objections considered before a panel of qualified experts. A formal objection can be filed only on four enumerated grounds, as described in this module. A formal objection initiates a dispute resolution proceeding. In filing an application for a gTLD, the applicant agrees to accept this gTLD dispute resolution process. Similarly, an objector accepts the gTLD dispute resolution process by filing its objection.
An experienced domain name attorney can help you navigate the Guidebook and prepare your application. In fact, a domain name attorney can help you establish an effective domain name registration strategy, which should be developed and implemented in order to mitigate the risk of cybersquatters as these new gTLDs emerge.
Ultimately, the new gTLDs will undoubtedly present opportunity and risk alike. Understanding both is imperative for any trademark owner.