The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently opened its Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) to help trademark owners protect their brands in anticipation of the impending launch of hundreds of new gTLDs (generic top-level domains). The TMCH aims to protect brands by providing:
- The Sunrise Service which will enable trademark owners to register corresponding domain names in any new gTLD before general registrations for that gTLD open, and
- The Trademark Claims Service which will notify domain name registrants and trademark owners of possible infringements by:
- Issuing potential domain name registrants with warning notices when they attempt to register a domain name that matches a trademark in the TMCH, and
- Letting trademark owners know if a party who has received a warning notice in relation to that owner’s trademark has proceeded to register the domain name in question anyway.
Given that the number of gTLDs will dramatically increase in the near future, the TMCH’s centralised service will be invaluable to trademark holders who previously have had to protect their intellectual property rights by dealing individually with each gTLD. The TMCH’s website is located at www.trademark-clearinghouse.com
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