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All New gTLD Registrations Should Be Subject to Sunrise Periods - Even Reserved Names

Elisa Cooper

Planning to register your trademark as a domain name during a Sunrise Period only to find out that the registration appears on a Reserved Names list?

There are a number of reasons why a domain that matches your trademark is appearing on a Reserved Names list. First of all, if the domain desired is the subject of Name Collision (Zip File), it may appear on a Reserved Names list. Although this is not true for all registries, as some operators are allowing domains that have been the subject of Name Collision to be allocated during Sunrise, but not delegated.

Or if it matches an acronym of an IGO or INGO for which the GAC has requested protection, it will appear on a Reserved Names list. And country names and country-codes should always appear on Reserved Names list.

Dictionary terms also often appear on Reserved Names lists, as some registries have plans to hold back the very best domains so that they may be auctioned off to the highest bidder, once the registry has gained greater acceptance.

But whatever the case may be, if and when domains are removed from these Reserved Names lists, I feel strongly that they must be subject to Sunrise Periods, if they had not been subject to them previously.

Undoubtedly, this complicates everything, for everyone. Registries must be equipped to offer Sunrise registrations while the registry is operating in General Availability. Registrars will need to notify registrants of their eligibility to participate, and registrants will be faced with even more complexity.

That said, Sunrise Periods provide rights owners with necessary time to obtain their intellectual property ahead of all others. Not supporting this would not only be in violation of the Registry Agreement and the hotly debated RPMs that were ultimately adopted, but it would also open floodgates for gaming in future rounds.

I am hopeful that all registries will comply with the Registry Agreement to offer Sunrise Periods for all domains, and if that means offering multiple Sunrise Periods as domains are removed from Reserved Names lists, then so be it.

By Elisa Cooper, SVP Marketing and Policy at Brandsight, Inc.
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Why? Nobody's registering in the sunrise periods Kevin Murphy  –  Jun 15, 2014 9:13 PM PDT

Why? Nobody's registering in the sunrise periods they do have.

Another RPM? Richard J Tindal  –  Jun 18, 2014 2:06 PM PDT

Elisa,

The existing Claims service addresses the general concern you raise.  You’re advocating a new Rights Protection Mechanism (RPM) – effectively a series of second Sunrise periods for each TLD.  Some thoughts on that.

According to our data, trademark owners infrequently use the existing Rights Protection Mechanisms (RPMs).  For example, twelve months after opening, and with 100+ TLDs in general availability, there are just 30K entries in the Trademark Clearinghouse.  The fact the URS is working well has reduced the need to be in the TMCH, but there's clearly a very low level of protective activity by brands.

There is a track record of alarmism and unsubstantiated claims from the trademark community, particularly in the new gTLD program, and that over-reach is proving true with RPM usage. Before we do what you suggest, and create even more potentially underutilized RPMs, let's see if there's a real need. 

Richard Tindal
Donuts inc

Richard,Thank you for your post.I personally know Elisa Cooper  –  Jun 18, 2014 3:53 PM PDT

Richard,

Thank you for your post.

I personally know of companies that desire to register their trademarks as domains during the Sunrise, but they cannot because they have been added to Reserved Names lists due to Namespace Collision.

As I mentioned in my blog, there are a number of registries who are allowing Collision domains to be registered during the Sunrise - and that is ideal.

If there is another way for brand owners to register their trademarks as domains, ahead of the general public, then that would certainly fill the need.

Best,
Elisa

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