For the last few years, CanadaFashionLaw has been following the eventual explosion of the internet (specifically Top Level Domains). It appears that the time is drawing near. If you use the internet as part of your marketing or for sales, you need to be aware of this new development.
By way of background, ICANN (the entity that runs the internet) decided that we were fast going to run out of online space. As such, it has opened it up to any entity to operate its own TLD. (A TLD is the “.com” part of a website address.) Until recently there were close to 300 types of TLDs (“.ca”, “.gov”, “.us”, “.org”, etc.) It is reported that close to 1,930 applications have been submitted for new TLDs. For the most part, the TLD applications fall into 3 major categories: (i) generic, such as “.shop”, (ii) geographic, such as “.paris” and (iii) brand-centric, such as “.gucci”. The applications are currently in the review stage and 232 are contentious applications, meaning either that there were multiple applications for the identical TLD or the proposed TLD is confusingly similar to an established brand.
The first batch of TLDs to be released is scheduled for Fall 2013 (although the whole process has experienced delays). These will focus on Internationalized Domain Names – domain names that are in non-latin script. Each launch is slated to have 3 launch phases, which affect when actual domain names can be registered with the new TLD” (i) sunrise, (ii) land rush and (iii) general. The sunrise period is only available to those entities that have registered their recognized trade-marks with the Trademark Clearinghouse.
Interestingly, we will also see a roll out of an alternative domain name dispute proceeding: URS. Like UDRP proceedings, it targets brand owners rights over the internet. Yet it is intended to be an even quicker avenue.
Stay tuned to CanadaFashionLaw for more updates.
If you have any questions on what this all means for your business and how you can prepare yourself, feel free to reach out.