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Brand Owners Take Note: gTLD Applications Revealed, Comment Period Begins

Just over a week ago, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) revealed the list of the 1,930 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) for which ICANN has received applications. This long-awaited announcement is the next step toward the first-large scale expansion of gTLDs in Internet history. Currently, there are only 22 gTLDs, including the familiar .com, .net, and .org. The entire list of applications is available at ICANN’s Web site:http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/application-results/strings-1200utc-13jun12-en.

Of the 1,930 applications, 66 are geographic name applications (e.g. .london and .paris) and 116 are for internationalized domain names in scripts such as Arabic, Chinese, and Cyrillic. Applications were filed from 60 countries and territories, with 911 coming from North America, 675 from Europe, 303 from the Asia-Pacific region, 24 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 17 from Africa. 

Unsurprisingly, there are multiple applicants for numerous gTLDs composed of arguably generic or descriptive terms like .music and .shopping, which will likely be auctioned off to the highest bidding applicant. Brand owners should review the list carefully for applications that might be relevant to their businesses, and in particular for applications with gTLDs that may be confusingly similar to their trademarks. 

A 60-day public comment period is now open for general comments on the applications. There will then be a six-month period for more specific objections based on, among other things, trademark rights.

© 2020 Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.National Law Review, Volume II, Number 181


About this Author

Lee J. Eulgen, Partner, Neal Gerber law firm

Lee J. Eulgen has significant experience in intellectual property litigation, negotiation and counseling, including trademark, copyright, patent, right of publicity, trade secret, trade dress, domain name,  entertainment, unfair competition and privacy-related matters. In particular, Lee has first-chaired countless intellectual property disputes and he is a member of the International Trademark Association’s Enforcement Committee. Lee has also handled numerous brand and technology-driven transactions, including licensing and information technology transactions, as well as sponsorship and...

Michael G. Kelber, Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions attorney, Neal Gerber law firm

Michael G. Kelber represents and counsels individuals and corporations in all aspects of intellectual property law and related transactions and litigation. He has represented clients in copyright, trademark and patent litigation, including seeking and defending temporary restraining orders, preliminary injunctions and summary judgment motions. He has prepared and prosecuted thousands of U.S. and foreign patent and trademark applications. Michael has also drafted and negotiated patent, trademark and software development licenses, and information technology outsourcing and development agreements, as well as music and book publishing agreements and film and video production and distribution agreements.