Icann Says That You Can – the Next Big Internet Change

Re: ICANN Says That You Can – The Next Big Internet Change

Dear Friends:

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is proceeding to add numerous internet extensions (generic top-level domains or “gTLDs”) to the well-known “.com”, “.org”, and “.edu” we have grown to know and love.  Approximately 1,930 applications were submitted including truly generic names like “.city”, “.computer”, “.business”, and my personal favorite, “.beer.”  But others such as “.ferrari”, “.google”, and “.hbo” in the wrong hands could pose a threat to established brands and dilute intellectual property rights.  The application fee was steep – $185,000.

June 13, 2012, began a sixty day period which will end on August 12, 2012 for public comments that panels reviewing the applications should consider.  Objectors to a particular application will have approximately seven months after June 13th to submit their objection.  Holders of trademarks, for example, or well-known brands, could object to approval of an application that would take advantage of the distinctive character or reputation of the objector’s trademark or trade-name or create an impressionable likelihood of confusion.  Others might object to gTLDs that would offend commonly held norms of morality and public order that are recognized under international law.

The new profusion of internet extensions will change the Internet environment and could potentially harm the intellectual property rights of many.  It could dilute the power of a brand, weaken a company’s good will and undress its trade dress.  Now is the time to determine whether you or your company should participate in the process to protect against your trademark or trade-name becoming someone else’s Internet extension.  Let us know if we can help.

Written by Attorney David B. Goldstein, dbg@hgplaw.com

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