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Companies Trademarking Possible Future Top-Level Domains

Andrew Allemann reporting on Domain Name Wire: "Companies are filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for service marks related to new TLDs. For example, Top Level Domain Holdings, Ltd (AIM: TLDH) has filed trademarks for .movie, .kids, .books, .buy, .baby, .poker, .golf, and .casino. (Top Level Domain Holdings is an investor in new TLD consulting firm Mind + Machines and dotNYC, LLC.) Other examples include .eco, a trademark filed by Colored Planet of Connecticut that appears close to being approved..."

Read full story: Domain Name Wire

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Nothing new... Daniel R. Tobias  –  Jun 30, 2009 4:45 PM PDT

People have been trying to trademark prospective TLDs for many years already, though in general the USPTO has taken the position that top level domains are not inherently trademarkable.  I don't know if their position has changed now, but how does anybody demonstrate use in commerce of a TLD that doesn't actually exist yet?

The USPTO is not the only trademark authority Karl Auerbach  –  Jun 30, 2009 5:14 PM PDT

The USPTO is not the only trademark authority.  In the US there are rights in names that can accrue without USPTO registration, particularly at the state level.

For example, I have cavebear.web in IOD's .web registry and as an operating zone in my own DNS servers.  We have had a business relationship for several years.  That is an actual act in the stream of commerce in which the name .web was used to identify a registration service.  The fact that ICANN does not recognize .web has no bearing on the fact and existence of that relationship.

I would seriously wonder at the business sense of any potential TLD provider that wants to undertake .web knowing full well that they may be pre-empted due to a prior use here in California, the worlds sixth largest economic bloc.

Just as IOD has done, any other company could make a bona fide effort to sell registration services under a name of their choosing and begin to accrue rights outside of the USPTO registration process.  It strikes me that this would be a reasonable course of action to estabilsh and assure priority of rights, and to dissuade any potential competitors for that name from applying to ICANN.

As for the USPTO's policy of non-recognition of TLDs are registrable marks - that policy is based a self inflicted blindness so that they do not see the commercial reality that top level domain names do in fact identify and distinguish various domain name registration products and providers.

And we should remember that the United States is but one country out of hundreds and that all of those other countries are completely capable of granting trade and service mark rights with the scope of their jurisdictions.

If HP really wants .hp they should buy a country, like everyone else Eric Brunner-Williams  –  Jul 01, 2009 5:58 AM PDT

One of the funnier public comments was HP's. They'd like .hp because ...

Does anyone think that the iso3166/MA is constrained from allocating any alpha-2 pair (other than aa, qm-qz, xa-xz and zz, for which it is self-constrained) by any private property claim in any jurisdiction?

Has it (the iso3166/MA) ever changed any assignment due to such a claim?

Are the alpha-3 allocations of iso-3166-2 conditional, subject to private property claims in some jurisdiction?

If the use of iso3166-1 assigned alpha-2 values for delegations from the IANA root is uncontested (and it has been operational practice since rfc1032, 11/1987) by a private property theory, what distinguishes iso3166-1 assigned alpha-2 values from alphanumeric-2 values, e.g., "k9", or alpha-3 values, e.g., "com" (also operational since rfc1032, 11/1987), or alpha-N values, e.g., "museum", which are delegated from the IANA root for whatever reason?

Independent of whether or not .com, or .net, is ever put up for competitive bid, I hope that 1032 didn't create a property right in NSI, now VGRS, to "com" or "net", which would be dispositive in the determination of the outcome of the selection of the subsequent operator.

I look forward to the happy announcement by someone that .arpa is private property and use of in-addr.arpa by unlicensed parties actionable trespass.

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