What impact will the newly approved domain names have for brand owners?

What impact will the newly approved domain names have for brand owners?

Theo Savvides, Partner in Osborne Clarke's Intellectual Property practice and Associate, Jonathan Maynard discuss  the impact of the newly released gTLDs.

In brief

Since the end of October 2013, more than one hundred new generic top level domains (gTLDs) have been formally approved as the largest ever expansion of the internet finally enters its closing stages. The newly delegated domains include generic terms as varied as .BIKE, .ESTATE, .SEXY, .LUXURY, .DANCE, .COMMUNITY and .HOLDINGS.

Geographic gTLDs have also proved popular, with .BERLIN and .TOKYO already delegated and .LONDON expected in Spring 2014.

Also, for the first time the new domains include non-Latin scripts and the domains delegated so far include the Japanese for "everyone", the Arabic for "web" or "network", the Chinese for "game" and the Cyrillic for "online" and "site". Around 1,400 new domains in total are expected to be rolled out over the course of the next year or so. Previously the internet contained only around 20 gTLDs (such as .COM, .ORG, .NET) alongside a couple of hundred country code TLDs (such as .FR, .ES, .DE).

ICANN has published a list of the newly delegated gTLDs on its website, which is updated with all new delegated gTLDs and which can be found here.

Where did these new domains come from?

In June 2012, ICANN (short for The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) accepted a total of 1,930 applications from businesses vying to own and operate new internet registries. Of these as many as 1,400 are likely to be successfully delegated at some point. Businesses willing to pay the $185,000 application and evaluation fee were allowed to apply for any string of characters, from generic terms such as .CAR to brand terms such as .BMW. Applicants could also specify whether or not they were going to operate the new domain as an open registry (i.e. to sell web domains to the general public under the new top level name, such as yoursite.HOLDINGS) or as a closed registry (i.e. withholding a

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