On June 20, 2011, the board of Internet Corporation and Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved the long awaited plan to increase the number of generic top level domains (gTLD). The previous selection included 22 gTLDs such as .com, .net., .asia, and .biz. You will be able to apply for a gTLD containing your company’s federally registered brand (e.g., .ford, .coke or .abc). If you choose not to apply for a gTLD, you may still have the opportunity to register your brand as the second level domain name in conjunction with a generic term from your company’s industry registered by a third party. Those who successfully complete the application process will be required to maintain a register for their gTLD and will be able to offer second level domains to others.
The arduous application process includes several technical requirements, as well as an objection period (similar to that of the publication period in trademark prosecution), and a fee of $185,000. This is definitely likely to discourage cybersquatters. ICANN is expected to launch a public information and education campaign. The application process is set to begin January 12, 2012.
If you are seriously considering applying for a gTLD, advance planning can only increase your chances in obtaining your desired gTLD. The application process is complex and requires expertise an Intellectual Property Attorney with knowledge in the area of gTLDs. We are located just outside of Downtown Los Angeles in the City of Pasadena.