Over the last few years, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) has continued to press forward with its efforts to increase the number of generic top-level domains (“gTLDs”). Although ICANN believes this expansion will increase competition and choice in the domain name space, various groups, including advertisers, have lingering concerns that the expansion will further erode Internet security and force them to incur significant expenses to protect their brands. In an attempt to address these concerns, ICANN has implemented a limited number of protection mechanisms. However, these protection mechanisms are only available to those who register their mark(s) in the Trademark Clearinghouse, a global repository of trademark data that launched on March 26, 2013. Thus, in the midst of an expansion that is already riddled with uncertainties, brand owners are now faced with the difficult task of trying to assess the value of ICANN’s unproven protections, and determining which marks, if any, are worth registering in the Trademark Clearinghouse.
For a more detailed analysis of the Trademark Clearinghouse, and ICANN’s rights protection mechanisms, read our recently issued Client Alert.