Since 2012 companies and organisations have been given the opportunity to apply for their own unique top-level domain (TLD). The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is administering the process, has received thousands of applications during this period.
The applications submitted included brands such as .ikano and .loreal, but also generic descriptions such as .bank and .insurance. TLDs that consist of brand names, trademarks or company names will be used primarily by the owners of those names, whereas the majority of generic TLDs will be freely available for registration. This means that the risk for trademark infringement is most acute in relation to these generic TLDs.
In order to make every effort to prevent trademark infringement, a special Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) has been established. This is a central database for storing and registering information related to trademark registrations.
In the future, recording information in this way will be compulsory for anyone who wishes to apply to register domain names under the new TLDs during the pre-registration period (the so called "sunrise period"). This also means that trademark owners will receive information over a limited period of time, if anyone else applies to register a domain name that is an exact match with the trademark used under the new TLD.
AWA will be happy to help you to register your trademarks in the TMCH. Our service also includes an extended domain name watch for 12 months. This extended watching service includes not only the new TLDs, but also existing generic and geographical TLDs. We are offering this new service because TMCH's domain name watch for each new TLD applies for a limited period of time only.