The International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved the plan for unlimited new gTLDs (i.e., top level Internet domain names) and will soon start taking applications. Brand owners dreading the adoption of a system permitting unlimited gTLDs now face the reality of this dramatic change to the domain name system.
While the domain name system is currently limited to 22 “generic” gTLDs (.com, .org, .net, .info, .biz, etc.), country codes (e.g., .us, .uk, .cn), and certain special community-sponsored domains (e.g., the .xxx for adult entertainment), the new rules permit entities anywhere in the world to apply for and, if granted rights by ICANN, to operate a gTLD for virtually any term, word or phrase, including your names, trade names, trademark terms, brand and product names.
My partner, John L. Hines, has been following this occurrence and is about as close to these developments and their implications as any legal advisor can be; but we have a global team of lawyers – Douglas J. Wood, Cynthia O’Donoghue, Dr. Alexander R. Klett, LL.M., Steven J. Birt and Brad R. Newberg – who, with John, have put together a Client Alert entitled “.anything On Its Way: New Generic Top Level Domains Will Launch January 12”.
Of course, if you need additional information or guidance, or both, please contact any of them. They will be happy to help.