The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) has approved the formation of a new top level domain space, .xxx, for the adult entertainment industry. The .xxx domain space is designed for the adult entertainment industry, much like .gov is used for government entities and .edu is used for educational institutions.
The owner of a registered trademark who wishes to opt-out and prevent its trademarks from being registered as second-level .xxx domain names may do so by paying a one-time fee of about $250 – $350 to block each registered trademark from being used as a second-level domain. In order to participate, trademark owners must own a trademark or service mark registration issued prior to September 1, 2011 for a mark that is in use. The opt-out must correspond to the entirety of a word mark or to the word components of a design or composite mark. For example, the owner of the registered trademark BRAND® can file an opt-out application to prohibit the registration of the domain name “brand.xxx.”
We recommend that trademark owners who are interested in protecting their marks from registration as a second-level domain in the .xxx domain space take action as soon as possible, particularly owners of house marks and marks susceptible of double entendres. We are currently working with our clients to make these defensive opt-out filings. The deadline for filing opt-out applications is October 28, 2011.
More information on the opt-out process is available here.
Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about this new development and how it may impact your intellectual property rights.