Prevent your trade mark from becoming X-rated

Trade mark owners could be at risk of their brands being sullied as a result of a new `.xxx` domain name. Domain names such as .com, .org and .net have now been joined by .xxx, introduced specifically for the adult entertainment industry. 

Before the domain name becomes generally available, the Internet Content Management Registry (ICM Registry), the American organisation responsible for managing the new domain names, has designated a `Sunrise Period` during which trade mark owners can pay a one-off fee to `reserve` domain names containing their trade marks so that they cannot be registered by others under a `.xxx` domain name for at least 10 years. 

The period closes on 28 October 2011 and only applies to valid trade marks registered prior to 1 September 2011. Unregistered trade marks, those at the application stage as at 1 September 2011 and any marks which have been withdrawn or revoked, cannot be reserved during the Sunrise Period. It will be possible to register outside the Sunrise Period, but this will be subject to an annual renewal fee.

It remains to be seen what problems trade mark owners may face once the new domain name becomes generally available. However, considering the relatively inexpensive cost of reserving domain names during the Sunrise Period, those with potential concerns about their trade mark`s reputation being damaged may consider it appropriate to protect the brand by doing so. Rollits can provide this service - please contact James Peel on 01482 337312, email james.peel@rollits.com for more information.

Posted on: 27/09/2011

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

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