30 April 2012
As you may be aware, ICANN has developed a new Top Level Domain Program which will introduce new generic Top Level Domains ("gTLDs") into the domain name space. Currently there are approximately two dozen gTLDs such as .com, .net and .org. This program will increase the number of gTLDs drastically, enhancing both competition and choice.
On 12 January 2012 ICANN began accepting applications for new generic Top Level Domains. On 1 May 2012, ICANN will publically post the details of all applications at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/program-status/application-results.
Comments can be submitted until 30 June 2012 and formal objections can be made for approximately seven months after the gTLDs are announced, although no official deadline has been set yet. There are four grounds for filing an objection:
String confusion objection. This ground of objection can be used where the gTLD applied for has a character string that is very similar to an existing TLD or another gTLD applied for and it would be likely to cause user confusion.
Legal rights objection.
This is where the gTLD string applied for infringes the legal rights of the objector.
Limited public interest.
This ground may be used where the gTLD string applied for is contrary to generally accepted legal norms of morality and public order that are recognised under principles of international law.
This may be of use where there is substantial objection to the gTLD from a significant proportion of the community.
After the objection period closes, the objections received will move through the dispute resolution process which is expected to take approximately five months.
For further information, please contact:
Mary Padbury, Partner, Ashurst