An eagerly awaited list of applications for new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) was recently revealed, disclosing 1930 applications for a wide variety of potential new gTLDs. These ranged from multiple applications for expected gTLDs such as .app and .shop, to more unexpected gTLDs such as .sucks and .webcam.
The number of applications is particularly surprising given the USD 185,000 fee per application. Indeed, it appears over USD 350 million was spent on application fees by applicants, including USD 18.6 million for 101 gTLDs by Google and USD 56.8 million for 307 gTLDs by Donuts, a venture capital and private equity backed start-up.
- An applied for gTLD string is confusingly similar to an existing top-level domain (TLD) or another applied for gTLD.
- An applied for gTLD infringes the existing legal rights of the objector.
- The applied-for gTLD string is contrary to generally accepted legal norms of morality and public order that are recognized under principles of international law.
- There is substantial opposition to the gTLD application from a significant portion of the community to which the gTLD string may be targeted.
For most organizations, the second basis will be the most relevant and organizations should consider promptly reviewing (or instructing external counsel to review) the list of applications to identify potentially problematic applications. This is particularly relevant for organizations that may be already aware of concurrent use of the same trade-mark or trade-name by businesses in different industries.
The window for objecting has not yet been finalized, but it’s currently anticipated “to be seven months [long], from approximately June 13 to January 13, 2013.”
Organizations should promptly review the list of applied-for new gTLDs to assess whether an objection to an application is warranted.