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Trademarks Tango in Cyber Ballrooms

Naseem Javed

The global trademark laws have served the business community well during the last century. But is it possible that with the advent of ICANN gTLD, a new layer of speed and protection would complement the trademark holders to further establish their name identity presence and visibility in the complex marketplace?

Although the trademark laws have served the business community very well during the last century, now with the advent of ICANN gTLD platform, it appears that it will provide an additional layer of speedy protection and increase the name identity visibility resulting in market domination via name identity.

Here are the key issues:

Global domain name management is under one universal set of rules, as managed by ICANN. The logical expansion to gTLD would enable players to acquire one master gTLD root, enjoy the benefit of its instant visibility around the globe, and not have to worry about fragmented policies and name variations normally adopted to fit the trademark rules of local countries.

In the real world, it would be an impossible task for all global trademark bodies to adopt a single universal trademark platform for proposed name clearance.

The current landscape of trademark laws resembles a complex jigsaw puzzle. Countries are arranged, piece by piece across the global surface, and conflicts between trademark laws are likely to arise. Trademark laws traditionally vary country by country, and as a result, makes regional or regional filing a prolonged, expensive and litigious process.

ICANN gTLD, on the other hand, resembles a single canvas stretchable across the globe.

ICANN has taken a bold approach insofar as cyber branding is concerned to offer a solution which would prove to make the rise of a brand name in the fastest time at a minimal cost with the maximum impact. It is the simplicity of the concept that cascades into its intricacy. It is the absence of such key issues in all the mythical fearmongering that has circulated for the last six months in the advertising and branding trade associations of the world.

Is the trademark profession under threat by this new aspect of universal thinking? This new platform eliminates bureaucracy, inefficiency and the lingering costs of stretching trademark coverage. Is it possible that current brandholders that are entangled in regional expansion and fearful of single body clearance.

The fact is that the majority of current brandholders are lost in a jigsaw puzzle where some pieces fit while most don't. Any attempt to seek out a comprehensive global solution simply doesn't appear to be possible. This scenario imposes serious questions to be addressed by the boardroom. What would the corporation do, change or not change? This is where the biggest level of fearmongering resides.

The monster change that gTLD brings to the table is its capability to centralize a domain name by creating touchpoints at the granular level without compromising its name identity. This level of master name integrity is nonexistent with today's tools in the open-for-all domain space. Names were always modified and appended with slashes, dashes and other components so that they would be workable in local jurisdictions.

With gTLD, for example, dot sony would remain .sony even when operating millions of subdomain names across 200 countries. They will all end up at .sony. It's very unfortunate that the ensemble of the wisemen from the upper echelon of the advertising and marketing elite have failed to recognize that the old $10 dotcom space has no play in this million dollar sophisticated highly regulated name acquisition process. The curtain of 'single domain name universality' rises January 12.

By Naseem Javed, Expert: Global Naming Complexities, Corporate Nomenclature, Image & Branding. He is the founder of ABC Namebank, author of 'Domination: The GTLD Name Game', syndicated columnist, keynote speaker and specialist on global naming complexities.

Related topics: Cybersquatting, Domain Names, ICANN, Top-Level Domains


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Quick Question Ray Marshall  –  Jan 11, 2012 1:07 PM PDT

Will trademarks cross over into the realm of a new form of global spectrum via the new gTLD program? If yes, isn't the cost of entry relatively cheap for .BRAND participants (compared to other forms of spectrum) with the lost opportunity cost being very expensive for non-participants of .BRANDS?

Quick Question Naseem Javed  –  Jan 11, 2012 1:26 PM PDT

Ray, this will be the next hot topic later in 2012… the TM sector is aware of the old system now clashing with new global digital platforms… it will only grow in time

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