As an update to our June and December 2009 editions of Knowledge Bytes regarding the expansion of generic Top Levels (“gTLDs”), there is yet a further delay in the implementation of the proposed program. There was speculation that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (“ICANN”) would approve the Draft Applicant Guidebook at its December 2010 meeting, with a possible launch of the new gTLDs in May 2011. At that meeting, however, ICANN announced that it will be holding an Intersessional Meeting with the Government Advisory Committee (“GAC”) to address outstanding concerns that the GAC has expressed, such as the adequacy of rights protections measures. Such meeting is scheduled for February 2011.
While the timeline for the launch of the new gTLDs still remains in flux, it seems likely that the program will be launched in late 2011 or early 2012. Accordingly, trademark owners will want to familiarize themselves with the process and timelines for filing objections to gTLD applications that may infringe their rights. Currently, it appears that the application period will be 60 days. ICANN will publish the information about all valid applications approximately four weeks after the end of the application period. The objection period will run for five and a half months following such publication. Anyone wishing to file an objection must file it with the dispute resolution provider and not with ICANN.
If you have any questions regarding the impending launch of the new gTLDs, please contact any member of our Intellectual Property Group and we will be happy to provide you with further information.