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July 21st, 2011
ICANN Introduces Unlimited Generic Top Level Domains
During a special session held on Monday, June 20, 2011 in Singapore, the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted to dramatically increase the number of top level domains (TLD’s) available on the Internet.
At present, there are 22 generic TLD’s (e.g., .com, .net, .org), a variety of country TLD’s (e.g., .uk, .cn) and some other group oriented TLD’s (such as .xxx for adult websites). ICANN’s proposed change would make it possible for private brand owners to stop using the generic TLD’s that they currently use and instead to create their own TLD’s (e.g., .frankfurtkurnit). It will also permit the purchase of otherwise generic words as TLD’s (e.g., .lawyers). The effect of this change is to permit a virtually limitless number of TLD’s. Another significant change is that TLD’s would be permitted in any language or script.
Businesses will be able to use this new system to market their brand or products in different ways. The availability of new TLDs will also likely increase the potential for infringement.
Creating a new TLD will not necessarily be an easy or inexpensive process. The initial application fee for a new TLD is $185,000 and the annual fee is $25,000. In addition, acquiring a new TLD would potentially require a significant investment of infrastructure or personnel.
The time period to apply for a new TLD is from January – April of 2012. Interested applicants should consult the Applicant Guidebook that will be published by ICANN (www.icann.org). (The earlier version of the Guidebook can be found here. This will be likely be updated to incorporate the resolutions of the June 20 meeting at some point within the next several months.)
If you have any questions regarding the TLD’s, or any other trademark-related questions, please contact Mary Sotis at (212) 705 4878 or email@example.com or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Trademark Group.
Disclaimer. This alert provides general coverage of its subject area. We provide it with the understanding that Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz is not engaged herein in rendering legal advice, and shall not be liable for any damages resulting from any error, inaccuracy, or omission. Our attorneys practice law only in jurisdictions in which they are properly authorized to do so. We do not seek to represent clients in other jurisdictions.
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