IP NEWS

Rollout of .xxx Domain Names

22/07/2011

In September 2011, the rollout of the .xxx domain will commence. Domain names incorporating the .xxx top level domain (“TLD”) are intended to be used for adult entertainment websites. However, brand owners outside of the adult entertainment industry should take notice since a party may attempt to register a .xxx domain name incorporating a brand owner’s trademark.

Brand owners can protect their trademark rights by excluding or reserving their trademarks during the “sunrise period” pertaining to the .xxx TLD, which occurs before .xxx domain names become available. To do so, a brand owner must have a registration for the trademark that is to be excluded or reserved. A licensee of the associated trademark rights may apply to exclude or reserve an associated .xxx domain name, although in this scenario the brand owner must execute the application to demonstrate the licensee’s authorization.

After the sunrise period, members of the adult industry will be able to register .xxx domain names. The Uniform Dispute Resolution Procedure, by which a brand owner may challenge the legitimacy of a domain name registration, will apply to .xxx domain names and thus may represent an option for brand owners that do not exclude or reserve their trademarks.

Although the body that governs the domain name registration process has not announced the specific date in September on which the sunrise period will commence, we strongly recommend that our clients immediately identify the trademarks that they would like to protect from registration as .xxx domain names.

Please contact us if you have any questions about .xxx domain names.

This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.

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