By James Stewart and David Kramer

Following the publication of the article titled .SUCKS: A Questionable Future?, posted on April 13, 2015, the author received an unsolicited email from John Berard, CEO of Vox Populi Registry, Ltd. (“Vox”), the registry responsible for the controversial .SUCKS gTLD, responding to the article.  In an email, Berard shares his perspective on the launch of the .SUCKS registry and the controversy that has ensued.  In particular, Berard notes:

The mission of the Vox Populi Registry is not to just sell names, but to help create a new destination, one where criticism can be heard and engaged.  And, if they arise, errors corrected.  Right now, companies don’t always get the chance to correct the record.  Heck, a lot of what shows up in search results can’t even be run to ground.

From the beginning I have said there is no need (it is certainly not mandatory) for a company to register its dotSucks domainJust be willing to engage.  In 2015 with 20 years’ experience of the Internet as a business platform, I would not have thought this to be so radical an idea.” (emphasis added)


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By James Stewart 

In response to a veritable deluge of concerns from brand owners over the .SUCKS domain name registry’s pricing structure, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) sent a letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs (“OCA”) on Thursday, April 9, 2015.  ICANN has requested that the FTC and OCA assess the legality of the .SUCKS registry operator, Vox Populi Registry, Ltd.’s (“Vox”) purportedly ”predatory” premium pricing structure for brands.  


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By: Ryan Compton & James Stewart

The modern era of general Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) is here.  The last several years of discussion, negotiation, public comment, lobbying, applications, and objections have finally led to delegation of the first new gTLDs in several years—the first handful in a sea of hundreds to thousands of new gTLDs—which will forever change the landscape of what Internet users put into the address bar of web browsers.   As previously reported, ICANN has begun delegating these new gTLDs, following entry into relevant registry agreements with the applicants for those gTLDs.  

Along with the delegation of the new gTLDs, these new registries will open to allow the registration of second-level domains by third parties.  Before opening to the public, each of the registries for the new gTLDs will open to trademark owners, registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse, for an initial Sunrise period—allowing trademark owners a first opportunity to secure second-level domains on the particular gTLD which incorporate their core marks. To that end, a number of Sunrise periods are currently open, or set to open within the coming weeks for the following gTLDs:

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*gTLD registries which are covered under the Donuts Domain Protected Marks List (DPML)


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By John Wilks

This year’s conference of Marques, the European brand owners’ association, took place in the European Union’s most troubled and ancient capital, Athens, under the lamentably resonant strapline “Sign of the Times”.  Among the many interesting topics shoe-horned under this banner, one theme seemed to keep resurfacing: the challenge of locating internet infringers.

This is by no means a new problem: IP infringers have for obvious reasons always sought to cover their tracks.  But the advent and continuing expansion of the internet and social media have dramatically increased the scope for anonymous infringements from cyberspace.  The impending arrival of over 1,000 new gTLDs- including many for common generic terms, threatens to further expand the possibility for anonymous infringement.


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By David M. Kramer

A new opportunity is on the horizon for brand owners seeking to expand their online presence in China. Starting September 15, 2012, owners of a valid trademark registration will be able to register .中国 (or “.CHINA”) domain names corresponding to their registered marks.


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Reproduced with permission from Electronic Commerce & Law Report, (June 13, 2012). Copyright 2012 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <http://www.bna.com>

NEW TOP-LEVEL DOMAINS

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will post June 13 a list of over 1,900 applications for new generic top-level domain names, following years of debate and months of delays. BNA interviewed nearly a dozen attorneys in the days leading up to the big reveal, asking what they will be looking for on “reveal day,” and for tips and insights for brand owners of all locations, sizes, and budgets.

Trademark infringement is not the only issue brands will need to watch. Other matters to explore include: Did a competitor apply for a “.industry” domain? If so, can your business register a second-level domain, for a reasonable cost? Will the competitor have access to sensitive information if you decide to register a second-level domain for a yet-to-be-publicized product? Will proposed domains that could attract infringers have adequate WHOIS data verification practices to enable IP owners to identify second-level registrants? What about steps to prevent abuses in provocative domains like the anticipated “.sucks” destination?


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Reproduced with permission from Electronic Commerce & Law Report, 17 ELCR 714 (Apr. 18, 2012).

Copyright 2012 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com

By Amy E. Bivins

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will not publicize who has applied for new generic top-level domain names until at least April 30, starting the clock on the public comment and objection processes, but legal disputes among rumored applicants are already beginning to surface.


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