Marques 2013: why brands applied for gTLDs


Attendees at the Marques annual conference in Monte Carlo heard some of the reasons behind .brand generic top-level domain (gTLD) applications and what the domains will be used for.

For SCA, a Swedish global hygiene and forest products company, there were four main reasons for registering .sca, said trademark director Minna Santesson.

“Protection of IP; communication; security; and platform for innovation,” she said.

The new gTLD programme, under which the first new registries are meant to launch in October, will confuse consumers and Internet users over the next two years, Santesson said, while .brand addresses won’t necessarily be viewed as “safe”.

A rise in online infringement will follow, she said, but then “we do expect to have a trusted address for .sca – the authentic destination for .sca products – and also cybersquatting will reduce”.

Speaking next was Steve Stolfi, vice president at Wolters Kluwer, an information provider in the legal and financial sectors, which has applied for .wolterskluwer.

“Control” was the main reason for applying, he noted, as “we will have 100 percent control of our brand and subsidiaries. That was a very interesting proposition for us.”

He added: “It will be recognised by the search engines as authentic and consumers will trust the domain.”

The company plans to create a “distinctive site for mobile devices, on which much of our information is delivered”, Stolfi said.

And by having a more secure intranet, “as a public company, we can relay more sensitive information than we can now”.

Looking at protective strategies, Jon Nevett, co-founder of leading gTLD applicant Donuts Inc, explained that brands can use Donuts's domain-protected marks list to block terms across all of its registries. Donuts applied for 307 gTLDs, but expects to control “200 plus” after possibly losing some of the contested applications in auctions.

Santesson said it was “overwhelming and exhausting thinking about all the new domains coming on board” and that companies should pick their important brands to protect.

Nick Wood, managing director of Valideus, which is advising more than 120 gTLD applicants, added that in the short term (three years) brands’ new gTLDs will run alongside .coms. Then, and following a rising awareness of .brands, major brands will move away from .coms and other established domains, as .brands are increasingly seen as “trusted zones, not just web addresses”. 

This article was first published on 19 September 2013 in World IP Review

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