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Blocked trademarks still eligible for Donuts sunrises

Kevin Murphy, December 13, 2013, 14:46:09 (UTC), Domain Registries

Donuts has confirmed that it is to allow trademark owners to participate in its new gTLD Sunrise periods even if their marks appear on name collisions block-lists.

The decision means that companies will be able to choose whether to grab names matching their marks during Sunrise, or take the risk that they will be released at a later date.

Donuts, like all gTLD registries, has been given block-lists for each of its TLDs. The idea is to avoid collisions with names already in use on private name-spaces behind corporate firewalls.

Lots of these blocked names match or contain well-known trademarks.

(Trademark owners can use the DI PRO collisions search engine to figure out which gTLDs have been asked to block their marks.)

While this appears at first glance to be good news for mark owners that just want their marks blocked in as many TLDs as possible, it also poses potential risks.

Blocked names are not likely to be blocked until after the first wave of Sunrise periods are over, and ICANN’s unblocking process has not yet been written.

For a company that wants to register its brand in a new gTLD, but is on a block-list, that could cause problems.

By allowing companies to participate in Sunrise regardless, Donuts is giving them a way to mitigate the risk of somebody else grabbing their brands in future.

Donuts does not plan to allow any of these names to be activated in the DNS until the ICANN collisions mitigation plan has been finalized, however.

So companies could find themselves paying for Sunrise names but unable to use them until some unspecified future date — if at all.

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