Category Archives: GTLD

USPTO Updates Policy on Registration of Generic Top-Level Domains

Author: Naresh Kilaru

Everyone knows gTLDs such as “.com” and “.net” are not registrable as trademarks, but what about “.nissan”? In view of ICANN’s impending rollout of hundreds of new gTLDs, the USPTO has recently revised its policy governing registration of gTLDs to provide that gTLDs may be registered as trademarks under certain circumstances.

Under the revised policy, gTLDs are registrable as trademarks provided that:

  1. the gTLD will be perceived as a source identifier;
  2. the applicant has a current registry agreement with ICANN; and
  3. the services provided are primarily for the benefit of someone other than the applicant.

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New GTLDs on the Horizon – Sunrise Registration Periods Continue

In view of ICANN’s launch of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), many brand owners are taking active steps to protect their brands by registering with ICANN’s designated rights repository, the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH). Registration with TMCH provides participating brand owners with notice of third-party attempts to register domain names that reflect exact matches of their brands. In addition, registration with TMCH allows brand owners a limited window of time (typically 30 or 60 days) termed a “sunrise period” in which to register matching domain names before they are released to the general public.

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The gTLDs Are Coming!

Trademark owners should be aware that, as of the date of this posting, the “sunrise” periods are open for 43 new top-level domain names. A list of the domains and pertinent dates can be found here, and includes TLDs such as .bike, .shoes, .company, and .buzz.

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