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ICANN & the Trademark Clearinghouse – relief for trade mark owners

icannlogoThe launch of new generic Internet domain extensions highly expands the domain name system and increases competition.

The press has widely reported the launch of the new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) which can include a geographic location (e.g. NYC), a generic term (e.g. Music) or a mark (Ralphlauren). Nearly 2000 applications should be added this year to the currently available gTLDs (.com, .net) and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs, e.g. geographical location .uk, .eu). The examination of hundreds of candidates revealed last year (see article in the Figaro blog here) the avid appetite of Amazon and Google for new extensions who spent millions to request 101 and 76 Internet extensions respectively revolving around digital content and media issues.

This is considered one of the most important changes in the structure of the Internet for years. A symbiosis has to be found to regulate the protection of trade mark owners and their Intellectual Property rights.

In this respect, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is responsible for the management of the top-level domain name space, has established a rights protection system through the creation of a database, called the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH),  for names that are the subject of a prior registration. The Trademark Clearinghouse has been available since 26 March.