Media Briefing Note: ICANN Extends Application Window for new Domain Names

LONDON, 12 April 2012 – Today ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) – the body that governs internet domain names – extended its new generic top-level domains (gTLD) application window.

The new gTLD programme was first approved in June 2011 by the ICANN Board.  The application period opened on 12 January 2012 and was due to close 90 days later at 23:59 today, 12 April 2012. However, ICANN announced today that the application window would be extended by one week to 23:59 on 20 April 2012, due to an unspecified technical issue in the TAS software. 

During this process, various companies have laid claim to their own “dot Brand” domain name. On 30 April 2012, ICANN is expected to announce the final list of applications, although it is possible that this date will now also be delayed.  It is likely that we will see over 1,000 gTLD domain names from across the globe.

David Taylor, head of Hogan Lovells' Domain Name Law Practice, and involved in ICANN since 2000 is currently the Intellectual Property Constituency representative to the ICANN GNSO Council.  He has been heavily involved in the process itself and the creation of brand protection mechanisms for these new gTLDs being a member of the ICANN Implementation Recommendation Team (IRT) as well as assisting numerous clients with their applications.

David commented:

"Apart from everyone globally working to this deadline, originally due to expire at 23:59 today, the interesting point is whether this also delays the announcement date of 30 April and whether there was any risk to any data being corrupted or lost.  The launch of new gTLDs is likely to cause an unprecedented shake up to the domain name system and the Internet in 2013 and onward.  Whilst the aim is to enhance diversity, choice, competition and innovation, it will inevitably cause a considerable burden on rights owners across the globe who will need to carefully reconsider their online strategies.  Along with the threat to business and brands there has nevertheless been a significant opportunity for brands to apply themselves during the window that has just closed.  It will be very interesting to see how many and who has applied when the list is published and we can expect some significant disputes."

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