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ICANN Brand Database Intended to Thwart Cybersquatting

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers launched a centralized brand database designed to protect companies against infringement of their trademarked properties as new, generic top-level domains are launched. Trademarks can be used in the second-level domains, which occur “left of the dot,” such as “apple.tablets.” The Trademark Clearinghouse will list those trademarks verified by Deloitte to prevent third parties from registering domains opportunistically to gain from activities such as cybersquatting or conducting sales of counterfeit products. The trademark holders are allowed to register theirs before new gTLDs are launched and also are provided with a warning in the event one of their trademarks appears in a second level domain registration. Jan Corstens, a partner at Deloitte who will be overseeing the clearinghouse, told Reuters they have no idea how many trademarks will be registered or the types of trademarks that might be registered. He expects companies active in Western Europe, the US, and Japan to be the most active in the clearinghouse. The annual TMCH fee ranges from US$95 to US$150 per trademark. It remains unclear when the gTLDs will go live. (ZDNet)(Thomson Reuters News and Insight)

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