The internationally recognised regulator of web addresses ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is constantly seeking new ways to avoid abusive use of domain names. One of the more common abuses is that of cybersquatting, the act of registering domain names consisting in somebody else’s trademark in order to make gains of that trademark’s reputation. There are several types of cybersquatting, however this is the most common.
ICANN has recently implemented a system where businesses can enter their trademark into a database. This will be called the “Trade Mark Clearing House” (TMCH). The reason for this system is that ICANN is in the process of introducing a new domain system whereby new generic top level domains (gTLD’s) will be implemented. Two known gTLD’s to be introduced will be “.web” and “.bet”. It is expected that many more gTLD’s will be introduced in this paradigm shift of domain names.
The TMCH aims to give companies an opportunity to get priority registration for domain names that match their trademark during the so called “sunrise” period before the domain names would be made available to the general public for purchase. This is slated to be a period of 30 days, after which the domain becomes fair game for anybody. In the extremely fast and competitive world of domain name registration, 30 days is a considerably long time.
It is hoped that this system will greatly mitigate the instances of cybersquatting. Thanks to this system, it is hoped that “domainers” will be discouraged from cybersquatting activities. So far, it is understood that the annual price for registration in this database will range between €75 ($95) to €117 ($150). Furthermore, this database shall be administered by the firm “Deloitte”. ICANN has publically declared that it is expecting hundreds of thousands of applications in the months to come.