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MoFo Tech A blog dedicated to information, trend spotting & analysis for science- & tech-based companies

From .com to .younameit

As a semiconductor manufacturer, how would you—or your competitor— like the exclusive right to the Web domain suffix “.chip”?  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is accepting applications for new generic top-level domains that can be comprised of virtually any name or number string.  Top trademarks and brands have taken notice.  “Some trademark owners worry this will create problems, for example if an entity applies for their trademark as a top-level domain,” observes Rosemary Tarlton, a partner in Morrison & Foerster’s Trademark Practice.  While some companies might consider applying for defensive purposes, Tarlton suggests it may only be worth the effort “if the company also has business strategies that make it worth doing— like enhancing brand image, building secure communities for customers and trading partners, or improving segmentation and targeting.”  Applying is expensive (it costs $185,000, plus $25,000 per year), and challenging (there are stringent business and technical requirements).  “It’s probably a better idea, in general, to continue to handle domain-name cybersquatter threats through the traditional means of cease-and desist letters, UDRP arbitration actions, and lawsuits under the ACPA or other equivalent statutes,” Tarlton says.

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