June 20, 2011
At its Board of Directors' meeting in Singapore today, ICANN, an Internet governing body, voted to approve the new generic top-level domain names ("gTLDs") that have been under discussion and deliberation for a number of years. As a result of this historic decision, Internet address endings will be permitted using virtually any set of letters, and will no longer be limited to the current familiar domain names such as .com, .net, and .org.
Today's decision will allow trademark owners around the world a new creative freedom in the use of their marks on the Internet, presenting them with innovative marketing opportunities. This change, however, will also create another area in which trademark disputes may arise.
Under the plan approved today, applications for new gTLDs will be accepted from January 12, 2012 through April 12, 2012. We will keep you updated on further developments—and their ramifications—as they occur. If you have any questions regarding this program and how to benefit from the resulting opportunities and avoid the infringement problems that may occur, please contact Fitch Even partner Joseph T. Nabor, head of the firm's trademark practice and an experienced advisor to the nation's leading corporations.