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Client Alerts

New gTLD "Reveal Day" is June 13 - Are You Ready?

June 4, 2012

Client Alerts

New gTLD "Reveal Day" is June 13 - Are You Ready?

June 4, 2012

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New gTLD “Reveal Day” is June 13 – Are You Ready?
More than 1,200 companies have applied for more than 2,000 new generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) to compete with .com, .org, etc.1 Might any of those new gTLDs infringe your intellectual property rights? You can find out soon enough.

On June 13, 2012, following a month-long delay caused by ICANN software failures, the public portions of all new gTLD applications, including applicant information and character strings, will be posted here. If you believe that an applied-for character string infringes your intellectual property rights, is confusingly similar to another applied-for or existing gTLD string, or is otherwise problematic, you may object by submitting either informal comments and/or formal objections.

Informal Comments

From June 13 to August 12, anyone may submit comments regarding a new gTLD application, which will be considered by independent evaluation panels during the application review process. This may be a low-cost way to convince ICANN that a particular new gTLD should not be awarded. All trademark owners should carefully review the list of new gTLD applications and be prepared to submit comments, if necessary, by August 12. Comments must be submitted through ICANN’s designated form, available here.

Formal Objections

Interested parties meeting certain criteria may also submit formal objections to particular new gTLD applications. The formal objection period runs from June 13, 2012 until approximately January 13, 2013, concurrent with ICANN’s initial evaluation period. If the initial evaluation of a particular application is concluded prior to December 1, parties should still have at least two weeks to file a formal objection. Whether to object early or wait for ICANN’s initial evaluation to conclude is an open question. Expert panelists will review the formal objections and any arguments made by the applicants and issue rulings. Filing a formal objection is a much more complex and expensive undertaking compared with making an informal comment, with a minimum filing fee of $10,000 (with $8,000 refunded if the trademark owner prevails), which does not include the significant expense of preparing a thorough complaint. Any new gTLDs surviving the evaluation and objection period must be operational within one year. Thus, we will see new gTLDs commence operations in 2013, when trademark owners will need to be vigilant in obtaining second-level domains in any new gTLDs of interest, recording trademarks in the new Trademark Clearinghouse to maximize protection, and monitoring for cybersquatting and other problems in the vastly expanded domain name space.

The time to prepare your gTLD defense strategy is now. To obtain more information about reviewing and monitoring applied-for gTLD character strings and for assistance with filing comments and/or formal objections, please contact your Fish & Richardson attorney or:

Keith Barritt
Principal
Washington, DC
barritt@fr.com
202-626-6433
Cynthia Walden
Principal
Boston
walden@fr.com
617-956-5928
Elizabeth Brenckman
Associate
New York
brenckman@fr.com
212-641-2305

You may also visit www.fr.com/domain-names for recent developments and events.


1 http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/statistics

© Copyright 2012 Fish & Richardson P.C. These materials may be considered advertising for legal services under the laws and rules of professional conduct of the jurisdictions in which we practice. The material contained in this newsletter has been gathered by the lawyers at Fish & Richardson P.C. for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Transmission is not intended to create and receipt does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel. For more information about Fish & Richardson P.C. and our practices, please visit www.fr.com.

 

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