Thursday, April 19, 2012

new gTLD time

String confusion?

Very shortly ICANN will be making its much-anticipated announcement of just who has applied for one of the new top-level generic domain names. Will we see .nike? .coke? .kodak? .fox? Presently it looks like 30th April will be the day of the announcement.

Apart from curiosity, why would you want to keep an eye out for this list? Well, if you are a trade mark owner, you might want to make sure that someone is not planning to use your well-known trade mark as a gTLD. ICANN will have an opposition period - all objections must be filed within seven months from the publication of the applications.

There are a couple of main possible grounds of objection for trade mark owners:

Legal Rights Objections: A trademark owner may object to any gTLD application, even if it has not applied for its own gTLD; and regardless of whether the rights claimed are based on registrations or common law use. Legal Rights Objections will be decided by WIPO using the same criteria as are used to decide domain name disputes. If the trademark owner prevails, the gTLD will not become operational.

String Confusion: A gTLD applicant may object to another proposed gTLD if it believes that the string of letters making up the other gTLD is confusingly similar to its own string of letters. If “string confusion” is found, only one of the gTLDs will be allowed. That will be determined by an auction. Thus, applicants must carefully consider whether to assert such a claim.

It seems certain that the list will cause a certain amount of interest, so keep an eye out for its release soon.

“String confusion”! I wonder if that is anything like “string theory”...chaos?

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