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ICANN Reveals List of Proposed generic Top-Level Domains

June 14, 2012

On June 13, 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) revealed the list of all newly proposed generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs).  The list is comprised of the first round of applications that were received until May 30, 2012.  Applicants seeking to introduce new gTLDs into the Internet’s addressing system were required to submit lengthy and detailed information regarding the purpose behind operating the new gTLD, along with information on project plans and the applicant’s technical, operational, and financial capabilities.  A total of 1,930 applications were received.  The public can view the list of applied-for gTLD strings, along with details of each application for a particular gTLD on the ICANN website.    

Among the list of applied-for gTLDs are strings constituting descriptive words such as BOOK, CARS, DATA, ECO, FOOD, GOLF, HEALTH, HOME, HOTEL, LAW, MOVIE, NEWS, ONLINE, STORE, SHOP, and WEB.  Also listed are strings incorporating company or brand names such as Ferrari, Chase, Amazon, Bloomingdales, and Microsoft.  The list reveals various incidences of multiple applications for the same gTLD, including for words such as BABY, MUSIC, BANK, BAR, BASEBALL, BASKETBALL, BEAUTY, as well as 9 applications for BLOG and 13 applications for APP.  Currently, ICANN does not have a system of notification in place to alert brand name or trademark owners of applied-for gTLDs that are confusingly similar with their own brand/trademark.   Brand and trademark owners should therefore review the list of applied-for gTLDs and decide whether to object to any proposed gTLDs that are at issue with their own brand/trademark, and review the list for strings that may be relevant to their business or industry.   

Formal objections to any of the newly proposed gTLDs are filed through a selected Dispute Resolution Service Provider (DRSP) using pre-established Dispute Resolution Procedures and may be based on one of the four enumerated grounds: (i) String Confusion (ii) Legal Rights (iii) Community and (iv) Limited Public Interest.  Pursuant to String Confusion objections, current gTLD applicants may object to similar applications of other gTLD applicants.  Legal Rights objections are available to trademark owners who can show that the contested gTLD creates an “impermissible likelihood of confusion” with the complainant’s protected mark. Limited Public Interest objections allow companies and individuals to object to gTLD applications which are contrary to generally accepted legal norms of morality and public order.  Finally, Community Grounds objections enable companies and individuals who are able to show a likelihood of material detriment to the community to object to applications for standard and "community” TLDs, including industry keywords, if they do not have the support of the relevant community. The deadline for filing a formal objection to a proposed gTLD is January 13, 2013. Objections will be administered by the DRSP.  

To view the list of proposed generic Top Level Domains, please go to http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/application-results/strings-1200utc-13jun12-en.

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Author(s):

Wynnie Chan Wynnie Chan
B.Com., J.D.
Partner
416.957.1662  email Wynnie Chan