The Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) is a mechanism designed to help trademark owners protect their brands during the launch of new gTLDs. Specifically, the TMCH is a central database for all new gTLDs which allows for validation and verification of registered trademarks so as to prevent brand infringement and domain squatting.
Once a trademark has been validated, the TMCH offers two benefits: Sunrise Registration Services and Claim Notification Services. Trademarks that are successfully validated by the TMCH receive a “Signed Mark Data” (SMD) file which is an encrypted file that can be used when submitting a Sunrise domain registration. The Sunrise Period is the initial registration phase that gives trademark owners priority to safeguard domain names that correspond with their brands. Once a trademark is registered in the TMCH, the owner will receive automatic warning notices of possible infringement when third parties attempt to register a domain matching the registered mark.
To register a mark with the TMCH, the trademark must be either registered, court validated or protected by statute or treaty. Design marks may also receive protection if the wording they represent is clearly depicted in the design.
As of April 2014, 170 gTLDs had been released by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). It is estimated that nearly 800 new gTLDs will be available for registration in the next few years.
If you require TMCH services, please contact us.