Update on Impending Internet Explosion

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.

Advertisements

E-Gold Mine Rush?

As the internet becomes an increasingly pervasive marketing tool for fashion companies, it’s hard (and not very business savvy) to ignore developments on the internet.  Previously, CanadaFashionLaw gave our fashionista readers a head’s up on looming developments with the internet.

 

Well, the future is here!

 

(Technically the application period has only recently opened…so it’s still early days.)

 

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves:

 

The future is drawing near!

 

ICANN (the organization that basically runs the internet) has now opened the application process for parties that wish to run their own generic Top Level Domain (“gTLD”) registry. (Read CanadaFashionLaw‘s previous article to get your internet geek on so you understand what a gTLD is).  The application process opened on January 12, 2012 and will close on April 12, 2012.

 

What does this mean?

 

At this point, we’re not quite sure; literally the sky is the limit!  With some companies openly stating that ICANN’s extension is not warranted, we’re not quite sure if companies will change their online branding strategies or how extensive they will be.  But putting on our cautious (and fabulously bedazzled) lawyer’s hat, we do know that there will be at least some changes:

 

Will we see fashion brand owners run their own gTLD:

 

www.website.GUCCI 

 

Perhaps.

 

Do you think that fashion brands will join forces:

 

www.website.FASHION

 

Peut-etre.

 

Or, do think that industries will unite for a global domain name registry:

 

www.website.LUXURY

 

Maybe baby.

 

What’s the draw back?

 

There’s a possibility that the expansion of the internet could create cybersquatting on steroids! Prudent and proactive brand owners can monitor the new gTLD applications on ICANN’s website to determine if any third party proposed new gTLDs will infringe on their brand and/or trade-mark portfolio.  Thankfully, an objection option has been incorporated into the application process to afford brand owners the opportunity to “X” the proposed new gTLD.

Protect Your Brand As The Internet Goes X-Rated

ICANN, the non-profit organization that governs the internet, has approved the launch of a new generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) on the internet: “.XXX”.

Obviously, this gTLD is geared specifically toward the adult entertainment industry, but brand owners in other industries, such as the fashion industry, can block their online brand from becoming x-rated.

Fashion houses that don’t want to be associated with the porn industry should take advantage of this opt-out provision in the launch of the “.XXX” gTLD.

To give some background, a gTLD is the last component of a domain name (i.e. ‘dot-com’, ‘dot-net’, ‘dot-org’).  Until recently, there were 21 gTLDs.  With over 1.6 billion internet users, and every indication that this number will increase exponentially, ICANN became concerned that the internet highway would cease to be limitless.  The approval of the “.XXX” gTLD is the first step in creating more options for internet users.  CanadaFashionLaw previously explained the full ramifications for the launch of new gTLDs.

There is a priority period for registering new “.XXX” domain names, which also enables brand owners to block their trade-marks from becoming part of a 3rd party “.XXX” domain name.

This sunset period spans September 7, 2011 until October 28, 2011 and will be available in 2 phases, after which the “.XXX” domain names will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

SUNSET PERIOD FOR REGISTRATION
Phase Available to: Comments
A Brand owners in the adult entertainment industry This allows companies in the adult entertainment industry to reserve their online space with the .XXX gTLD extension.
B
Brand owners outside of the adult entertainment industry
An opportunity is given to brand owners to block their trade-marks from being used with the .XXX gTLD extension by any party.
In order to qualify to block your company’s brand from becoming an x-rated website, the following are required:

a)         The brand owner must own a trade-mark registration for the proposed domain name;

b)         The trade-mark cannot be in the application stages;

c)         The trade-mark must be registered in a jurisdiction that the brand owner conducts substantial business or bona fide commerce;

d)         If a brand owner is seeking to “opt-out” (i.e. those is Phase B), the “opted-out” domain name must be identical to the trade-mark.

In addition to fulfilling the above requirements, filing fees are also incurred.

It is important to note that if a brand owner not in the adult entertainment industry successfully blocks the x-rated domain name, it is only valid for 10 years.  Domain name dispute proceedings are applicable.

Act quickly if you want to ensure that your company’s brand does not become x-rated!