You Show Me Yours, I’ll Show You Mine – Why gTLD Reveal Day Matters to You

All businesses should be interested in “Reveal Day” – June 13, 2012 – when the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) makes public more than 1,900 applications for generic top-level domain (gTLD) names.

The publication of the applied-for domain names – along with the entities trying to obtain them – begins a 60-day public review period during which applicants and non-applicants alike can comment and lodge a range of objections. (Read the ICANN list here.)

Here’s why you should pay close attention:

1. You can learn a lot about your competition by reading the application list:
“Brand owners should also review the application list with an eye toward what their competitors might be up to. For instance, have competitors applied to register their own .brand TLDs? Has a competitor applied to register a gTLD that could place the brand owner at an unfair competitive advantage, and to which the brand owner might be able to object on other grounds? Generally, the Reveal Day application will provide a glimpse into a digital landscape that could have enormous implications for every brand owner’s domain name, marketing, and business strategies going forward.” (The Impending Domain Name Explosion: Why Brand Owners Must Pay Attention on “Reveal Day” June 13 by Foley Hoag LLP)

2. ICANN is counting on the corporate world to help police applications:

“ICANN has taken some steps to protect against … abuses, other than slapping a $185K sticker price on the new TLDs. Once the early application window officially closes, ICANN will publicly post all the gTLD applications it received. Third parties will then have 7 months to file objections to the potential gTLDs. There are 4 bases for objections: string confusion (an existing TLD operator or gTLD applicant objects because the applied for gTLD is confusingly similar to another existing or proposed gTLD), limited public interest (the gTLD is contrary to generally accepted legal norms of morality and public order), community based (there is substantial opposition to the application from an established institution associated with a significant portion of the community that the gTLD targets, such as a coalition of watch makers objecting to Rolex controlling the .watch gTLD), and a legal rights objection.” (Why You Should Care That .Com Can Be .Anything by Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP)

3. It’s an important part of protecting your brand:

“Applicants will need to monitor the initial reveal to determine if other applied-for strings are confusingly similar. They can submit objections and public comments, and applicants will need to respond to objections lodged against them… Non-applicant clients who own protectable trademarks should monitor ICANN’s publication periods, including the initial reveal of gTLD strings and applicants. Additionally, if the trademark owner believes an applied-for string is confusingly similar to its trademark, the owner should consider lodging a legal rights objection during the formal objections period.” (Dot Deadlines: What to Expect with gTLDs in 2012 and How to Protect Your Rights and Brands by Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.)

Latest updates:

For more on the branding considerations of gTLDs, watch this video from Fenwick & West:

[Link: The New gTLD – Top Considerations for Brand Managers]

Related reading:

Find related IP law news and updates on JD Supra>>