Written by Jamison Arterton
Trademark owners, mark your calendars. ICANN announced that Tuesday, May 1, 2012 will be "reveal day." On May 1st, ICANN will publicly post the gTLD character strings that have been applied for in connection with its new gTLD program. Following publication, interested parties may submit comments related to proposed new gTLDs, which will be considered by the independent evaluators assessing each application. During the comment period, trademark owners can submit comments regarding potential trademark infringement, dilution and related concerns raised by particular applications for gTLDs. As of now, ICANN has set June 30, 2012 as the close date for the open comment period.
"Reveal day" also formally opens the objection period. During this seven month period, trademark owners can file formal objections to any of the new gTLD applications. A formal objection may be made on one of four grounds:
- String Confusion Objection – The applied-for gTLD string is confusingly similar to an existing TLD or to another gTLD string that has been applied for in the same round of applications.
- Legal Rights Objection – The applied-for gTLD string infringes the existing legal rights of the objector.
- Limited Public Interest Objection – The applied-for gTLD string is contrary to accepted legal norms of morality and public order that are recognized under principles of international law.
- Community Objection – There is substantial opposition to the gTLD application from a significant portion of the community to which the gTLD string may be explicitly or implicitly targeted.
A complete summary of upcoming deadlines is available here.