ICANN Aims To Help Brands With Domain Trademark Clearinghouse

icann-logo-squareICANN, the agency that oversees the domain name system, is planning to launch what it calls a Trademark Clearinghouse next month to help companies and individuals protect their rights as new top-level domains roll out later this year.

According to ICANN’s announcement, the clearinghouse will open on March 26th at trademark-clearinghouse.com.

Rights owners will be able to submit their trademark information into a central database for verification and, once verified, they’ll have two primary benefits:

  • “Sunrise Registration” will give verified rights owners the chance to register their marks as domain names before the general public.
  • “Notification of Registration” is an alert service that will work during “sunrise” and “claims” periods, telling rights holders when someone registers a domain that matches their trademarks. It also warns the registrant that s/he is trying to register a trademarked name.

The latter is just an alert service and doesn’t attempt to block the registration of domains that match a trademark; if the registrant follows through with the registration, the two parties would have to go through normal dispute procedures.

There are different fee structures involved — the most basic of which costs $150 per year.

According to the Associated Press, ICANN is planning to start making some new top-level domains available in mid-2013, and likely in Chinese and other non-English languages at first.

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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