Protect Your Brand Name from Infringing Domain Names by Registering With the New Trademark Clearing House

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Authored by attorney Jane D. Tucker

On March 26, 2013 the Trademark Clearinghouse (“TMCH”) was launched by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”).  Owners of registered trademarks can register those trademarks with TMCH.  The TMCH trademark registration system is designed to prevent the unauthorized use of registered trademarks in the new generic top-level domains (“gTLD”) being made available to the public this year.  These domains will include .brand and .generic top level domains, such as .restaurant, .construction and .pets.

There are (two) primary benefits to registering your trademark with TMCH:

  1. Sunrise Service.  Sunrise is an initial period of at least 30 days prior to the launch of a new gTLD during which trademark owners who have registered their trademarks with TMCH can seek to register a domain name that is identical to their trademark prior to the domains being offered to the general public.
  2. Trademark Claims Service.
  3. A potential domain name registrant gets a warning notice when attempting to register a domain name that matches a trademark term in the TMCH.
  4. If, after receiving and accepting the notice, the domain name registrant does continue to register the domain name, the trademark holder with a corresponding mark will receive notification of the domain name registration, so they can take any appropriate action if they would like to.

Owners of registered trademarks should consider whether to take advantage of the TMCH system as part of their strategy in protecting their brand name.

These articles are meant to bring awareness to these topics and is not intended to be used as legal advice.

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