Protect Your Brand As The Internet Goes X-Rated

ICANN, the non-profit organization that governs the internet, has approved the launch of a new generic top-level domain (“gTLD”) on the internet: “.XXX”. 

Obviously, this gTLD is geared specifically toward the adult entertainment industry, but brand owners in other industries, such as the fashion industry, can block their online brand from becoming x-rated. 
Fashion houses that don't want to be associated with the porn industry should take advantage of this opt-out provision in the launch of the “.XXX” gTLD. 

To give some background, a gTLD is the last component of a domain name (i.e. ‘dot-com’, ‘dot-net’, ‘dot-org’).  Until recently, there were 21 gTLDs.  With over 1.6 billion internet users, and every indication that this number will increase exponentially, ICANN became concerned that the internet highway would cease to be limitless.  The approval of the “.XXX” gTLD is the first step in creating more options for internet users.  CanadaFashionLaw previously explained the full ramifications for the launch of new gTLDs.

There is a priority period for registering new “.XXX” domain names, which also enables brand owners to block their trade-marks from becoming part of a 3rd party “.XXX” domain name.  

This sunset period spans September 7, 2011 until October 28, 2011 and will be available in 2 phases, after which the “.XXX” domain names will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Available to:
Brand owners in the adult entertainment industry
This allows companies in the adult entertainment industry to reserve their online space with the .XXX gTLD extension.
Brand owners outside of the adult entertainment industry
An opportunity is given to brand owners to block their trade-marks from being used with the .XXX gTLD extension by any party.

In order to qualify to block your company’s brand from becoming an x-rated website, the following are required:

a)         The brand owner must own a trade-mark registration for the proposed domain name;

b)         The trade-mark cannot be in the application stages;

c)         The trade-mark must be registered in a jurisdiction that the brand owner conducts substantial business or bona fide commerce;

d)         If a brand owner is seeking to “opt-out” (i.e. those is Phase B), the “opted-out” domain name must be identical to the trade-mark.

In addition to fulfilling the above requirements, filing fees are also incurred.

It is important to note that if a brand owner not in the adult entertainment industry successfully blocks the x-rated domain name, it is only valid for 10 years.  Domain name dispute proceedings are applicable.

Act quickly if you want to ensure that your company’s brand does not become x-rated!