Starting Gun on New gTLD’s Has Fired

Today is the first day for applications for your very own new generic Top-Level Domains (New gTLDs). Those who can afford it– $185,000 in fees, plus hardware and people costs, plus substance sufficient to operate the gTLD for at least 3 years–probably don’t need to be reminded.

But starting today, people and organizations have a shot at controlling a gTLD reflecting their own brand or specialty instead of relying on that best known top-level domain, .com. For example, Apple and Amazon could take their litigation over “App Store” and “app” to a literal new level by both applying for a “.app” gTLD.

The evaluation process for each application will be complex. There is no assurance that any particular application will ripen into a gTLD controlled by the applicant. Challenge periods are built into the process, and no one knows when the first newly-minted gTLD will debut.

The only certain dates so far in the timeline are today, March 29 (last day for online application using TAS), and April 12 (last day applications are accepted). ICANN, the organization that controls this process, basically says you should forget about it if you don’t apply by March 29.

Will the new gTLD’s usher in an internet revolution, or will they be more like the Y2K frenzy and not amount to all that much? It is widely believed that most businesses with the means and a reason to go after a gTLD are betting on the not-all-that-much side. But that doesn’t mean they are confident that life will go on as usual.

When the first new gTLD’s roll out perhaps as early as May, many eyes will be watching. As implications start to sink in, we’ll get a sense of whether a great new internet real estate war is underway, or if it’s no big deal.

About Craig Pinkus

Craig Pinkus is a partner in the Intellectual Property Group. He also is a member of the Litigation and the Sports, Entertainment and Media Groups. He assists clients with a broad range of disputes and transactions involving all areas of intellectual property, entertainment, and other complex business arrangements. He has conducted trials and arbitrations throughout the United States and has argued appeals before the Seventh, Sixth and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, the Indiana appellate courts, and United States Supreme Court.
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