Posted on 02/04/2012 by
Applications to register new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) will close on 12 April, 2012.
These domain names allow business names or brands to be registered as top level domains. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved a plan to increase the number of gTLDs from the current limit of 22. gTLDs are domain name endings which come after the dot, such as .com or .info. This will allow domain names to end in almost any word in the any language, including business names or brands, such as .APPLE or .CANON, as well as geographical areas and keywords. ICANN hopes that the initiative will "unleash the global human imagination". It has the potential to radically change the way in which people locate information on the internet.
Any person or entity will be able to own and administer a gTLD. The privilege is not expected to be cheap, with estimates of the initial filing fee being approximately USD 185,000 and overall costs for the first 18 to 24 months estimated at between USD500,000 and USD1,000,000, once examination and opposition costs are taken into account.
While the new gTLDs will not be functional until 2013, the ability to make an application for a gTLD has been available from 12 January 2012 with the application period closing on 12 April, 2012. Additional application periods are expected in the future. Individuals or organisations will have to show that they have a legitimate claim to the domain they are buying, and an opposition process will be available where applications are made which allegedly infringe third party intellectual property rights. If there are multiple applications an auction process will take place.
Buying a gTLD differs from buying a domain name in that applicants are essentially applying to buy and operate their own registry. Applications follow a relatively complex format which require the provision of both technical and financial information from the applicant.
Brand owners who do not wish to register their gTLD will still have the opportunity to "defend" their brands from use by other parties:
Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact Rosemary Wallis.
This update was written with assistance from Chloe Barker.