New gTLDs: second round to occur no sooner than 2018 according to ICANN


icann_new_top_level_domains_tld_gtld_sign2_by_felixart05-d6iedi6The new gTLDs were launched in October 2013. More than 1000 new gTLDs have been created since, and more than 20 million domains bearing a new gTLD have been registered. While this development provides a wider choice to Internet users who want to register a domain name, it poses a threat to trademark holders who now face a higher risk of usurpation of their trademarks.

Still waiting for second round

There are less and less available domain names with standard extensions (like .com or .net), which is why a second round of new gTLDs is now becoming necessary. It would encourage more trademark holders to create their own domain name.

During its last meeting in Helsinki on June 27, 2016, ICANN annouced that the second round will not take place before 2018.

The review of rights protection mechanisms

Before opening a second round, ICANN must review and improve current trademark protection mechanisms. Indeed, the tools have not been changed since the emergence of new gTLDs in 2013 and are sometimes not in line with the current context.

ICANN has in particular worked on special procedures for post-delegation dispute resolution, and notably the URS and UDRP procedures. These procedures allow trademark holders to find alternatives for when their trademark is usurped as a domain name. The Trademark Clearinghouse, a general database allowing a trademark holder to check necessary information for the protection of his/her rights, has also been examined by ICANN.

The aim of all these improvements is to offer sufficient protection to trademark holders, especially in the current context where more and more new gTLDs may appear in the coming years.