On June 13, 2012, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) published a list of all applications filed for new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs). This list identifies more than 1900 applications for gTLDs of various types including generic words, community names, geographic locations and brands. The full list of new gTLD applications and applicants can be found at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/application-results.
With the publication of these applications, ICANN has opened both a public comment period as well as a formal objection process. During the 60-day public comment period, third parties can comment on specific applications and provide information for ICANN to consider during its evaluation of particular applications. On the other hand, the formal objection process is currently scheduled to last for approximately seven months, and formal objections must be based on one of four enumerated grounds, namely, string confusion, legal rights, limited public interest or community. Formal objections will be convened before an independent body and will involve an arbitration-type procedure, including associated forum fees. Accordingly, parties interested in taking action against or defending their own gTLD applications should consider the implications of each available mechanism when crafting an objection or response strategy.
For further information regarding the subject of this Legal Update, copies of previous Legal Updates in the Moving Beyond “.com” Series, or questions regarding gTLD applications in general, please contact Michael Adams in Chicago at +1 312 701 8713 or Alan Chiu in Hong Kong at +852 2843 4229.