Today, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) created a whole new set of top level web domain address (see stories in Wall Street Journal , New York Times, AP). The high level domains are the suffix to the addresses, like .com and .org. Only 21 have been used — .edu, .gov, .mil, .info and certain countries, like .uk, .de . The new ruling by ICANN opens the gates to possible thousands of combinations.
In doing so, ICANN has also created thousands of new intangible assets. Each domain name is an asset — as wide spread as a trademark. But without all the protection of a trademark. So a number of companies and organizations will now need to grab as many domain names as possible — with an almost unlimited set to contend with. For example, who will get McDonalds.paris or Coke.berlin or Ford.car (or Ford.auto or Ford.brand? Here is ICANN’s answer to that question.
What’s to stop others registering my brand name?
Trademarks will not be automatically reserved. But there will be an objection-based mechanism for trademark owners where their arguments for protection will be considered.
An objection-based mechanism? Could get interesting.