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Intellectual Property

Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione: New gTLDs Approved by ICANN

As of January 12, 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Board of Directors will allow applications for the new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). ICANN considers these additions to the Internet as its number one priority. The introduction of these new gTLDs, after many years of discussion, will promote competition in registry services, increase consumer choice and allow for diverse service providers. Currently, there are only 22 gTLDs, e.g., .com, .org, .edu, etc. The period for application will close on April 12, 2012. There will be additional application periods subsequent to April 12, 2012.

The following are a few excerpts from an article on the new gTLDs. To read the full article, click here.

Types of Names
These new gTLDs would cover the following types of names:

  • Branded gTLDs, such as .Nestle;
  • Industry-related gTLDs, such as .bank, .lawyer, .rockandrollmusic, etc.;
  • Geographically specific names, such as .Chicago, .Shanghai, etc.; and
  • gTLDs which use non-Latin scripts such as Chinese, Japanese, Cyrillic or Arabic characters.  

Application Process
The application process would work in the following way:

  • Only corporations, organizations and institutions can apply for a new gTLD (an individual or sole proprietorship cannot apply);
  • Applications will only be submitted online through the TLD Application System (TAS) during January 12, 2012-April 12, 2012. There will be subsequent filing periods;
  • ICANN will examine each application for valid information, fee payment and technical ability to operate proposed gTLD registry services with a Rights Protection Mechanism and administrative proceedings under the Uniform Name Dispute Resolution policy for second-level domains (if the applicant chooses to do so);
  • Applicants must submit proof of legal establishment and good standing;
  • The application must be marked as an open gTLD or a community-based gTLD and must show an ongoing relationship between the applicant and the relevant community and/or an endorsement by an established institution representing the community;
  • Applications for geographic names must include a letter from all relevant government entities that have authority over that jurisdiction;
  • Applications with non-Latin characters must comply with ICANN's Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications Protocol;
  • Applications will be reviewed for string confusion against other gTLDs, country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) or reserved names; and
  • Applications which pass the Initial Evaluation must enter into a registry agreement with ICANN within 90 days of the decision. The successful registrant will then delegate names into the root zone database.  

The applicant must pay $185,000 USD to cover the online registration fee and the initial evaluation. The applicant may receive an $86,000 USD credit if the gTLD is the same as an application filed in 2000 for the proof-of-concept application process. Additional fees include the following:

  • $1,000-5,000 USD to respond to an objection;
  • $2,000-8,000 USD for Dispute Resolution for string confusion and/or legal rights objection;
  • $32,000-122,000 USD for a morality and public order and/or community objection from both parties (prevailing party payment will be refunded);
  • Partial refunds may be available when applications are withdrawn depending on the time frame; and
  • $25,000 USD or more annual registry fee depending on registry transaction revenue.  

More Information
For more details on the new gTLDs, including an applicant guidebook, advantages/disadvantages of the new gTLDs and strategies for trademark holders, please click here for the full article.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss how these new gTLDs may impact you, please contact an attorney at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione.

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This Client Alert is intended to provide information of general interest to the public and is not intended to offer legal advice about specific situations or problems. Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione does not intend to create an attorney-client relationship by offering this information and review of the information shall not be deemed to create such a relationship. You should consult a lawyer if you have a legal matter requiring attention. For further information, please contact a Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione lawyer.


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