The release of new top level domains (gTLDs) promises to make millions of new website addresses available. gTLDs present a challenge for businesses eager to protect their brands however. Here are 3 tips to avoid problems:
1. Register your trademarks with the Trademark Clearinghouse
In an effort towards ensuring domain protection by stamping out domain squatting, ICANN (who regulates domain names globally) has created a clearinghouse allowing brand owners to register gTLD addresses first. However you need to ensure your brand is registered before the new gTLDs go live.
2. Keep an eye on new gTLD launches
ICANN has imposed a 30-day notification period for launches of new gTLDs, giving businesses a small window of opportunity to pre-register relevant gTLDs which have already been registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse. To avoid potential problems, businesses need to check these ‘sunrise’ notifications on a regular basis – probably weekly.
3. Monitor domain name registrations
Once the sunrise period ends, your business will receive notifications from registrars of attempts by other buyers to register domain names that match your trademarks. Although you need not necessarily take any action at this point, your business should keep a close eye on how the domain is being used in case you need to lodge a dispute with the Uniform Name Dispute Resolution Policy system.
Protecting your brand is a proactive process, which may become quite time-consuming. The time investment required will not however be wasted should you prevent a cybersquatter or fraudster devaluing your brand.
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