Skip to main content
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

New Domain Names to Bring New Trademark Issues for Companies

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 28, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Last week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, announced that it voted in favor of opening up the web to new domain names, allowing well-funded persons to move away from the traditional dot-coms and dot-nets to more branded sites, like dot-ford and dot-pfizer.

Though the organization hopes that the new flexibility will increase innovation, it's also likely to be a big headache for those who wish to protect their trademarks and brand identities.

Under these rules, new domain names can be anything and in any language, reports The Wall Street Journal. If you want a dot-think or a dot-apple, you can have it so long as you're willing to shell out $185,000 to apply and $25,000 yearly to maintain rights.

While this certainly opens up opportunities for companies to increase their online presence and ensure customers that they are at the correct site, it's also a big draw for cybersquatters.

ICANN claims that it will cancel any domains that are purchased in bad faith and violate trademarks. It also plans to maintain a database to track registered names.

That may not be enough, and should your company come upon a domain name cybersquatter, you may have to rely on the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which offers some protection against domain name trademark infringement.

However, with such a high price tag and likely consumer confusion, it's unclear just how many new domain names will surface in the next few years. If you're lucky, there will be very few, and no one will target your company.

Related Resources:

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard