ICANN Launches Trademark Clearinghouse to Help Protect Brands from Domain Piracy on New gTLDs

Robyn Norgan
Mar 29, 2013

As you may have heard, ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is preparing to launch several new gTLDs starting this year. Last year, they revealed a proposed gTLD list of over 1900 and recently the first 27 new gTLDs passed their initial evaluation, bringing them one step closer to being released. With the potential for thousands of new gTLDs to enter the market over the next few years, many have been left wondering how they will protect their brand. Now, ICANN has a solution: ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse.

On Tuesday of this week, ICANN launched their own Trademark Clearinghouse, which is "one of several important enhanced rights protection mechanisms that have been built into the New gTLD Program". According to ICANN's website, "The Trademark Clearinghouse will accept and authenticate rights information, and will support both trademark claims and sunrise services, required in all new gTLDs". Trademark holders, whether they're private individuals or companies, can now submit their trademarks via the website

As you can see, the benefit of submitting your trademark to ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse is that you can register your trademarked domain name or names during the Sunrise period of a new gTLD. All new gTLDs are required to offer a Sunrise period of at least 30 days, which allows trademark holders to register their domain names before that new gTLD is publicly available for registration. Following the Sunrise period is a Trademark Claims period, which lasts for 60 days. If you haven't registered your trademarked domain names during the Sunrise period and someone tries to register one of them during the Trademark Claims period, the registrant will receive a notification letting them know the domain is trademarked (and hopefully deterring them from registering it). If they do still register the domain, ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse will send you a notice, letting you know that someone has registered your trademarked domain name.

The service accepts trademark data from all over the world and supports multiple languages. If you are interested in registering your trademark with ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse, there is a fee, but keep in mind that it could be more expensive (and time consuming) to get your domain name once someone else owns it. What do you think about ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse service? Will you use it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Post by Robyn Norgan