The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) expects to publish the identities of all generic top-level domain (gTLD) applicants and their applied-for strings on April 30, 2012.
ICANN, which manages the Internet’s domain name system, originally accepted gTLD applications from January 12 to April 12, while the last date to register was March 29.
On March 25 there were 839 registered users in the TLD Application System (TAS), according to ICANN. But each TAS slot allows up to 50 applications, so the total number of applied-for strings could be much higher.
There are dozens of publicly-announced applications but most are for gTLDs representing cities, generic words and communities. The only brands to reveal their plans are Canon, Hitachi, Deloitte, StarHub and Scandinavian Airlines System Group. Google said it plans to apply for some of its trademarks but did not specify which ones.
Meanwhile the ICM Registry, which manages the .xxx TLD (covering adult content), said it will apply for .sex, .porn and .adult. If the bids succeed, ICM will automatically block any second-level domains already registered in .xxx. These blocks will include defensive trademark registrations under ICM’s ‘sunrise B’ period, when non-adult trademark owners could permanently block their names. The domains would be reserved but could be activated by the .xxx owner for a ‘nominal’ fee.
Predictions of the number of applications have ranged wildly from 1,000 to more than 3,000, but ICANN said it expects between 1,000 and 1,500 bids. Once ICANN publishes the list on April 30, a public comment period and a Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) warning period will open until June 30. Th e GAC, which represents more than 100 governments within ICANN, may warn against strings that are deemed sensitive or capable of violating national laws.
“The launch of new gTLDs is likely to cause an unprecedented shake-up to the domain name system and the Internet in 2013 and beyond,” said David Taylor of law firm Hogan Lovells. “Although the aim is to enhance diversity, choice, competition and innovation, it will inevitably cause a considerable burden on rights owners across the globe, who will need to carefully reconsider their online strategies,” he said.
ICANN was forced to shut down the online TAS system after a technical glitch exposed some applicants’ data.
On the final day of the application period—April 12—ICANN closed TAS and extended the registration deadline until at least April 20. The error allowed a “limited number of users” to view other users’ file names and user names, according to a statement.
ICANN said no application data were compromised or lost, although one anonymous applicant said it saw another file name and believed it to be the applied-for string. ICANN said it will inform all applicants about whether they have been affected. On April 17, ICANN said it aimed to re-open the system by April 20.
Taylor of Hogan Lovells said he was unsure whether the glitch would affect the reveal date of April 30.
This article was first published on 01 June 2012 in World IP Review
ICANN, gTLDs, Hogan Lovells, domain name application, TAS