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Sunrise periods for new Internet top-level domain names continually closing. Act fast!

3 February 2014

The internet is changing and domain names are no longer limited to the standard generic top-level domains like .com or .org and country code domains like .uk. The new generic top level domains (gTLDs) includes for example .technology, .careers, .luxury, .academy and .marketing. In addition non-latin language scripts (e.g. Chinese, Arabic) can be used in the gTLD for the first time allowing for example whole domain names to be registered in Chinese.

Trade mark owners who have registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse can use the priority period known as the “sunrise period” to register desired domain names before they become available to the general public. There is a rolling programme of gTLD releases with sunrise periods continually closing (for example .technology closes on 7 February 2014).

The new gTLDs bring risks and opportunities for brand owners. Cybersquatting may increase forcing them to defensively register many more domain names incorporating their brands. Brand owners should develop a strategy to manage the risks and should monitor the situation.

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