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"Thin Brand Line" Breaks as Canon Announces Plans for .CANON

Antony Van Couvering

Until today's announcement by Canon, no large brand had broken the "thin brand line" by revealing their plan to apply for their own new top-level domain. Now with Canon's announcement, other major companies have been challenged to either announce their TLD plans or else state that they plan to forgo the chance to brand themselves at the top level of the domain name space.

Until now, in public, large brands have marched in lock step in opposition to new top-level domains, ostensibly because of the high cost of defending and enforcing their marks in multiple new namespaces. The worst-kept secret in the industry, however, is that brands have been making private plans, and brand-service registrars have been prepping their clients for new gTLDs in anticipation of healthy fees for application submission services.

Canon, at least, has decided that the marketing benefits of their own top-level domain outweigh the costs. In the U.S., legal departments, which are good at identifying risk — though not necessarily expert at quantifying it — , exercise a much stronger presence in the corporate boardroom than they do in European and Asian companies.

Could it be that the highly defensive stance of U.S. intellectual property interests, hardened by the file-sharing wars, is not shared by the rest of the world's brands?

In Japan, Canon has decided to cast its lot with the money-makers instead of the money-hoarders. I predict we will see more brands opt for engagement with the Internet by visibly branding themselves with their own new gTLD, but that the the last ones to do so will come from the United States.

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AntonyI'd have to disagree with you on Michele Neylon  –  Mar 16, 2010 9:41 AM PDT

Antony

I'd have to disagree with you on this. There is absolutely nothing forcing brand owners to do anything right now. They can simply sit back and wait.

They won't gain anything or lose anything by waiting. It's not like anyone else could pitch of .nike or .warner anyway, as they wouldn't have any rights in the name.

Michele

We shall see. I don't think there Antony Van Couvering  –  Mar 16, 2010 9:44 AM PDT

We shall see. I don't think there will be a pell-mell rush, but as a wise man said, "No-one likes to be first, and no-one likes to be last." Permission has been granted, and the "omerta" that has heretofore prevailed is now broken.

Congratulations to GMO Registry Jothan Frakes  –  May 10, 2010 12:03 AM PDT

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