Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Important Dates for Trademark Owners in Early 2010: Pending Introduction of New TLDs

As referenced below, this blog is intended to keep trademark owners abreast of developments with regard to the introduction of new top-level domains. With the turn of the calendar to 2010, there is a lot coming around the corner of which brand owners should be aware. It is my intent to increase the frequency of posts as developments occur, but there are a number of impending dates important to this process.

On January 27, 2010, the public comment period closes regarding the draft model for Expressions of Interest for new top-level domains. Important considerations that may effect trademark owners include:
Participation in the Expressions of Interest is mandatory. If a trademark owner chooses not to participate, said trademark owner may not apply in the first round of new TLDs.
A deposit of $55,000 is required to participate. This fee will be credited against the proposed $185,000 application fee to register a new TLD.
The $55,000 deposit is refundable only if ICANN fails to act on the introduction of new TLDs prior to approximately the end of 2011.
The potential applicant, applicant contact information and to-be applied-for TLD will be made public.

On February 4, 2010, at the Special Meeting of the ICANN Board of Directors, the Board will consider the draft and public comments, and may vote to proceed with the draft model.

Here is a list of potential participants and applicants thus far.

With regard to Internationalized Domain Names, ICANN still intends to introduce new country-code top-level domains in non-Latin scripts in early 2010. At this point, there are 16 requests for IDNs in eight languages.

To reiterate, there is a lot coming around the corner for trademark owners with regard to the introduction of new TLDs. Brand owners should be sure to pay attention to the above deadlines and any changes that may occur in the near future. The intent is for this blog to serve as a clearinghouse of information and updates for trademark owners concerned with these issues.