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New domain name extension .xxx

24-08-2011

In March of this year, the ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved the controversial new top level domain .xxx. This is remarkable because .xxx is primarily intended for adult entertainment, a sector that most brand owners do not like to associate themselves with. Between 7 September and 28 October 2011, brand owners can register or preventively block their .xxx during the so-called Sunrise period.

The question is whether you, as a brand owner, should register a .xxx domain. Is there a real threat? That is a difficult question. It could be advisable to preventively claim the .xxx extension. You do not want your name to be routed in the future to a website with which you do not want to be associated.

How does the process work?

Unlike the regular 30 days that usually apply in a so-called sunrise period, you now have 52 days time to submit your application. A distinction is made between two stages:

Sunrise A:

This phase is intended for brand owners who are active in the adult entertainment field and for owners of erotic websites who were already active before 10 February 2010 under a different extension (grandfathering).

Sunrise B:

This phase is for trademark owners whose desired .xxx domain name will be reserved and blocked. As a result, the web address cannot be used as a conventional web address. This period is set for a minimum of 10 years but could be longer if ICANN extends the contract with the operator of the .xxx domain or a new operator maintains the blocking. Incidentally, it is impossible to see which organisation has applied for the blocking of the .xxx domain.

The Sunrise period ends on 28 October 2011. This period is followed by the so-called Landrush period, running from 8 November to 25 November 2011. During the Landrush period, you can apply for .xxx domain names, without any additional requirements. The Landrush domain names will not be distributed on the basis of the ‘first come, first served’ principle, but by means of a private auction. This auction will take place at the end of the Landrush period. The so-called free registration period starts on 6 December 2011. During this period, anyone can register any available .xxx domain to operate an adult website with the ‘first come, first served’ principle applying. The Rapid Evaluation Service and the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) procedures are available for trademark owners to protect their brands. Ask Novagraaf for advice if you feel your rights have been infringed upon.

More information about the .xxx domain?

Novagraaf can advise and assist you at any time in this process. If desired, Novagraaf can take care of the blocking for you. Because of the formalities of submitting a claim on your trademark rights during the Sunrise period, we recommend that you contact us about this well before the deadline of 28 October 2011.