During the course of 2013, approximately 1900 gTLD’s (Generic Top Level Domains) are likely to be released, making domain name space vast. These will include names such as .accountant, .practitioner, .africa, .shop, .hotel etc. In order to provide protection for trade mark proprietors and to prevent cyber squatting ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has established a Trademark Clearinghouse (TCH). The TCH, which was launched on 26 March 2013, allows trade mark proprietors to register their marks before the new TLD is launched, thereby providing protection from third parties registering a website using their trade mark after the TLD is operational. For example, a trade mark proprietor will be entitled to register www.ipboffin.practitioner (ipboffin being the trade mark which is registered with the TCH, and .practitioner being the new gTLD).
The TCH is operated jointly by Deloitte and IBM, and can be considered a centralized repository and database of validated trade marks. The TCH will not necessarily prevent trade mark infringement, cybersquatting or typosquatting, however it will assist trade mark proprietors in mitigating any damage that may arise. More importantly, if a trade mark is registered within the Sunrise Period, a preferential registration right is obtained which will allow the registration of the trade mark as a website name prior to registration thereof being open to the general public. A further benefit is that the clearinghouse will send alerts to the trade mark proprietor or its trade mark agent if a third party tries to register a website domain identical to a registered trade mark, thereby granting an opportunity to challenge the website domain registration.
RADEMEYER ATTORNEYS is able to register your trade marks with the TCH on your behalf, and assist with matters incidental thereto. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information regarding the above, including the fees and process involved.