• Professional News
  • 21 June 2012

ICANN has published applications for new top-level domain names

On 13 June 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published a list of the generic top-level domain names (gTLDs) in respect of which applications have been received and a list of who has applied for registration of which domain names. The list includes in the region of two thousand applications and has been eagerly awaited.

The applications received pertain to just under 1,400 different domains. The most popular domains are .app with 13 applications, .home and .inc with 11 applications each, and .art with 10 applications. In total, registration of 230 domain names has been applied for by more than one applicant, which means that hundreds of applications compete with other applications for a gTLD.

Some applicants have applied for registration of more than one gTLD. Google, for example, has filed more than 100 applications, and Amazon.com has filed 70 applications.

Around 15% of the applications relate to trademarks, such as .americanexpress or .lego.

Comments and oppositions
Until 13 August 2012, anybody is entitled to provide its comments to ICANN in respect of each of the new applications. This may influence the process of handling applications since such comments will be presented to the panel which is to assess whether the applications fulfil the criteria set out. Comments as to conflicting rights – for example that a gTLD applied for infringes a trademark right – may, however, not stop an application according to this procedure.

For trademark owners and others, a procedure for conflict resolution exists under which the rights owner may file a claim that a gTLD applied for infringes the rights held by such rights owner. Consequently, registration of a new gTLD may be refused. Expectations are that the time limit for parties involved to file a formal opposition against the applications which have now been published will expire at the beginning of January 2013.

 

A so-called "Trademark Clearinghouse" is being established the purpose of which is to monitor the new gTLDs in respect of trademark rights which will be registered with the "Clearinghouse". The trademark owners choosing to use this option will be informed of any new gTLDs, allowing them to file oppositions against such gTLDs.

ICANN predicts that the first of the new top-level domains will be activated in the first quarter of 2013.

For more information, see list of new gTLDs applied for.

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