Trade-mark clearinghouse for new generic……

March 21st, 2013 by

If you are a trademark owner, commencing on March 26, 2013, the Trade-Mark Clearing House will begin accepting applications for generic top level domains (gTLDs).

In June 2011, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved a plan to dramatically increase the number of Internet domain name endings such as .com, .net and .org. The new domain endings are known as the new generic top level domains (gTLDs), and include such endings as “.accountant”, “.lawyer” and “.WTF”.

With over a 1,000 new gTLDs, soon to be available, ICANN, has implemented a Trade Mark Clearinghouse, which will act as a single database of authenticated registered trademarks to help protect brands and their intellectual property rights.

Any trade-mark owner can submit their trade-mark to the Clearinghouse, and after their information has been verified by ICANN, the trade-mark owner will be able to register its corresponding domain name(s) during a “sunrise” period, before registration is open to the general public. Sunrise Periods are 30-day windows prior to the public launch of each new gTLD during which trade-mark rights holders can reserve domain names corresponding to their trade-marks.

The Trade-mark Clearinghouse will be open to receive applications beginning on March 26, 2013, at a fee of about $150 per trade-mark per year. Marks may be registered for up to five years, which is renewable. When registering a mark in the Trade-mark Clearinghouse, brand owners may also include at no additional cost up to 50 similar domain strings, provided they have not previously been found to be abusively registered in a UDRP proceeding or a court case.

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Once a trade mark is registered in the Clearinghouse, the registrant will receive a notification when someone applies to register a domain name, within a new gTLD, which is identical to the trade mark registered in the database. The Clearinghouse does not, by itself, create any rights or operate as a bar to the registration of a domain name within a new gTLD. It merely serves to provide advance notice to the trade mark proprietors and new domain name registrants.

Registering your trade-mark in the Clearinghouse is a cost effective way to help protect your trade-marks against Cybersquatting.

If you have any questions regarding trade-mark registration, the Trade-Mark Clearing House or registering the new for generic top level domains (gTLDs), please do not hesitate to contact a Toronto trademark lawyer or trade-mark agent in the Intellectual Property department at Devry Smith Frank LLP.


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