26 March 2013

Trademark Clearinghouse

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ("ICANN") has seen its Trademark Clearinghouse open for business today, 26 March 2013.

For those unfamiliar with the Trademark Clearinghouse:

"The Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) is the most important rights protection mechanism built into ICANN’s new gTLD program. Operators of new gTLDs will be responsible for implementing certain rights protection mechanisms, supported by the Trademark Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse allows brand owners to submit their trademark data into one centralized database, prior to and during the launch of new gTLDs. The Clearinghouse will open on March 26.

  • Trademark holders will be able to submit their trademark information to a centralized repository.
  • After verification, the trademark holder has fulfilled the basic (most important) condition to be able to register its corresponding domain name during the pre-registration period of multiple TLDs – also known as the "Sunrise period".
  • Trademark holders will also have the option to be notified when someone registers a domain name that matches their record in the Clearinghouse."
Owners of famous brands will look to register their trade marks with the Clearinghouse. However, with inexpensive fees, the Clearinghouse is accessible to smaller brand owners - particularly where these brand owners would focus on registering only their house mark with the Clearinghouse.

Fees can be paid annually, which when compared to the duration of trade mark registrations is too often. Thankfully, fees can also be paid for three year or five year terms too with some small discounts available for the longer periods.

The Trademark Clearinghouse is expected to be a useful tool in the continued battle against cybersquatters.