Intellectual Property Watch
By Kelly Burke for Intellectual Property Watch
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced that its Trademark Clearinghouse database, through which rights holders can submit their eligible trademarks prior to and during ICANN’s launch of new domains, will start operating on 26 March.
Any trademark holder, private person, or company can submit their trademark, according to theclearinghouse website. The registry is intended to make it easy for rights holders to track potentially infringing registrations. ICANN is the domain name system technical oversight body.
The clearinghouse will accept trademarks that are nationally or regionally registered trademarks; protected by statue or treaty; validated through a court of law or other judicial proceeding; or others that constitute intellectual property rights. Full clearinghouse guidelines can be found here [pdf].
The verified data in the Trademark Clearinghouse will be used to support both sunrise services and trademark claims, according to a clearinghouse FAQ page provided by ICANN. The 30-day sunrise service period allows users an “advance opportunity to register domain names corresponding to their marks before names are generally available to the public.” After the sunrise period expires, the claims service will send an automatic notification to a trademark holder who has signed up if another user applies to register a domain name that directly matches the trademark.
The Trademark Clearinghouse is part of ICANN’s new generic top-level domain (gTLD) process implemented last year (IPW, Information and Communications Technology/Broadcasting, 31 January 2012). The clearinghouse was intended to address trademark holders’ concerns about the large expansion of new domains.