ICANN recently updated the list of reserved second level domain names. Those are names that you won't be able to register in any of the 1500 or so new domains they're planning to add. There's rather a lot of them, currently 629.
The names are in three groups, the ICRC (the Red Cross), the IOC (the Olympic games) and everyone else. Several years ago the Red Cross and later the Olympics came to ICANN and insisted that they make a special list of forbidden names, separate from the various trademark registries. As I understand it, the argument was that these are special cases with names recognized by international treaties, and not by trademark law, so they need special rules to avoid confusion. The argument seems utterly bogus to me. In the US there have for a century been many registered trademarks for Red Cross (bandages, shoes, mattresses, canned tomato juice etc.) and Olympic (paint, welding torches, bread, doughnuts, etc.) and the confusion seems firmly under control. Nevertheless, ICANN agreed, probably because it was easier than arguing.
Then somehow earlier this year the Government Advisory Committee told ICANN to add a third category of what looks like every Intergovernmental Organization (IGO) established by treaty, anywhere. ICANN already has the .INT domain specifically for this kind of organization, but again, what the heck.
These rules apply only to the new TLDs, not to the existing ones. So while you cannot register, say, benelux-organization-for-intellectual-property.barefoot or international-conference-on-the-great-lakes-region-of-africa.cashbackbonus (or even the semi-reasonable international-conference-on-the-great-lakes-region-of-africa.africa,) you can register any of those names in .com or .org or .net or any of the other existing TLDs. I poked around and while most of the short abbreviations like unhcr and wipo are taken, the long names are mostly available. Get yours while you can.
You can't have bureauinternationaldespoidsetmesures.com. That one's mine.
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