Brands Need to Pay Special Attention to ‘Generics’ in Generic Top Level Domains

A few days ago, I started to convince myself that there might be less to worry about with new gTLDs. It was calming to consider that the largest percentage of new extensions would likely be .brands which would pose little risk to others’ intellectual property rights.

What I’d forgotten is how potentially problematic some of the new generic extensions could be. And recent news reminded me that rights’ holders will likely realize all the pain they expected and more. Announcements from Momentus Corporation, Radix, CloudNames and TLDH have catalyzed these fears. They’ve published the extensions they have applied for, many of which will be troubling to brand-owners.

Using defensive registration trends in .xxx as a guide, we’d expect large brands to consider blocking strategies in many of these gTLDs, if they come to fruition, considering their potential for controversy and damage to brand reputation. With the high percentage of defensives in .xxx this could be a very profitable endeavor for these new registries, if their extensions are delegated.

Whether you see these new registries as entrepreneurial opportunities to increase the namespace or a ploy to force brand owners into registering defensively, it raises very real business concerns for large corporations. Will these gTLDs be delegated and how many other applications will be of this nature? We’ll all be looking for news to trickle in until the flood on the 13th of June. Meanwhile, brands should be considering how to mount campaigns for GAC advice and evaluating other blocking actions including objections.