ICANN (the “Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers”) has announced that it plans to publish the list of new gTLD applications on June 13, 2012. To view list on June 13th, click here.
A gTLD is a generic top-level domain. The gTLD of an Internet address appears to the right of the “dot” in the address, for example, .com, .net, .org, .biz, .info, etc. There are currently only 22 gTLDs in the world, however, in 2011 ICANN approved the expansion of the domain name system by allowing companies to apply for their own gTLDs (such as, .ibm, .nike, .ups, etc.). ICANN began accepting applications for new gTLDs in January of 2012. More than 1,200 applicants have applied for approximately 2,000 new gTLDs.
Naturally, trade-mark owners will need to be vigilant of cybersquatting and other problems in this vastly expanded domain name space. Trade-mark owners should review the list of new gTLDs to ensure that there are no potential conflicts with their trade-marks. A review process has been implemented whereby trade-mark owners may submit informal comments which will be reviewed by the evaluators assessing the new gTLD applications. The deadline for submitting comments is August 12, 2012. This could prove to be a cost-effective way for trade-mark owners to convince ICANN that a new gTLD should not be approved. Comments may be submitted online at the following link.
Parties who meet certain criteria may also submit formal objections during the period between June 13, 2012 and January 13, 2013. Expert panelists will review the formal objections and issue rulings. However, filing a formal objection is a more complex and expensive – the minimum filing fee is $10,000.
To view a list of the currently approved top level domains (including gTLDS, ccTLDs (country code top level domains), and IDNs (internationalized domain names), click here.