Internet Trademark Clearinghouse to Be Launched in March

A trademark clearinghouse will be launched in March to prepare for a major change in the way Internet and email addresses are structured and assigned.

Fadi Chehade, newly appointed CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the Internet address system, told Xinhua Wednesday that one of his chief tasks would be guiding the largest expansion of the Internet address system since its creation in the 1980s.

Now, there were only 23 domain name suffixes, such as .com, .org, .gov, Chehade said, but this year, ICANN would allow other endings, including .google, .music or .apple.

Chinese and other characters will also be allowed in the domain names, IP addresses and suffixes.

He said such a major expansion would greatly increase the number of domain names and IP addresses.

However, the expansion faces criticism, especially from trademark holders who are concerned about misuse of their brands.

Therefore, ICANN decided to launch the trademark clearinghouse in partnership with IBM to protect trademarks, Chehade said.

“Protection of trademarks and IP is at the top of my mind,” he said.

“ICANN is undertaking one of the largest trademark protection programs in history. We are building a trademark clearinghouse, the first global trademark clearinghouse in the world. No one has done that before,” he said.

Chehade said it would allow any trademark holders to be registered with the trademark clearinghouse, and anybody wanting to register their IP or domain names could check with the clearinghouse first to see if someone already owned the name.

“We are doing the most we can in good faith to make sure that we do not end up in the situation where our consumers are confused,” Chehade said.


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