14 June 2012

All is revealed: the newly applied for gTLDs

So yesterday was 'Reveal Day' when ICANN provided a list of new gTLDs applied for, sometimes referred to as .BRAND although they are not exclusively for trade marks.

There will be some of interest to legal entities with the applications for .INC, .LLP, .LTD, .GMBH, etc. which could enable them to register domain names beyond .COM.

Applications have been made for obviously desirable gTLDs: .APP, .GAME, .HOTEL, .MOVIE, .MUSIC, .TICKETS, the optimistic .LOVE and something I appear to order on the internet far too regularly: .PIZZA.

There are also geographic applications in which domain names will presumably be issued to applicants with a connection or residence. Such examples include from France, .ALSACE and .CORSICA and from South Africa, .CAPETOWN, .DURBAN, and a more familiar and easy to spell, .JOBURG. These applications seem to have been made on behalf of regional organisations and governments, although I spotted .CYMRU (this meaning Wales in Welsh) was applied for by Nominet, who administer the ccTLD for the United Kingdom.

When it comes to trade marks, it is no surprise that some of the world's biggest brand owners have applied so we see the likes of .MICROSOFT, but it is perhaps more interesting to see who has not applied.

Using Interbrand's top 25 brands (2011), there is no .GE or .HP as it appears two-letter gTLDs are not allowed but then there are no applications for .GENERALELECTRIC or .HEWLETTPACKARD either. H&M would have needed to spell out their ampersand (.HANDM) and there is no application here. There are also no applications for .DISNEY, .MERCEDES, .GILLETTE or .LOUISVUITTON and, arguably most suprisingly, for .COCACOLA or .COKE; .PEPSI is also not subject of an application. 

It is interesting how different brand owners have considered an application necessary or not. They were very expensive, but to massive brands still surely not out of their reach.

There could be a battle for .GUARDIAN which has been applied for by a British newspaper and American life insurance company.

L'OrĂ©al have filed a number of applications. A number of these are for their brands but they have also decided to go for some generic words too: .BEAUTY, .HAIR, .MAKEUP, .SALON, .SKIN plus one in non-Latin characters.

In fact, generally speaking there have been many applications for gTLDs in non-Latin characters.

Finally, there is also an application for .WTF (used as a euphemism in English) and .SUCKS, which one can only anticipate would be highly controversial.

There are now seven months in which objections on various grounds can be filed with an appropriate Dispute Resolution Service Provider. For brand owners, the 'Legal Rights' avenue is likely to be of most interest and objections for these will be handled by our colleagues at WIPO. I wonder how many are going to be filed...