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Uniregistry plans “dot-spanning” Sunrise periods and anti-gaming protection

Kevin Murphy, December 27, 2013, 09:34:09 (UTC), Domain Registries

Uniregistry is to offer a second Sunrise period in its new gTLDs, going over and above what is required by ICANN, aimed at companies with trademarks that “span the dot”.

Say you run a tattoo parlor and have a trademark on “Joe’s Tattoo”. The ICANN-mandated Sunrise would only allow you to register joestattoo.tattoo, but Uniregistry will allow you to buy joes.tattoo as well.

It would also allow “plurals and conjugations”, so a company with a trademark on “Joe’s Tattoos” would presumably also be eligible for joes.tattoo, even though they’re not an exact match.

This Sunrise B plan appears to apply to all of Uniregistry’s forthcoming gTLDs and was approved by ICANN recently (pdf).

The additional service would be invitation-only, restricted to companies that have participated in the regular Sunrise period, which Uniregistry is calling Sunrise A.

For Sunrise A, Uniregistry plans to allow mark owners to register regular resolving domain names or purchase “blocking” registrations, where the domain resolves to a non-monetized Uniregistry placeholder.

Sunrise B participants would not be able to purchase blocking registrations; for “dot-spanning” trademarks the name must resolve.

Uniregistry also plans to implement an “anti-hijack” measure to help prevent — or at least add friction to — .eu-style gaming by domain speculators during its launch periods.

If you participate in either Sunrise period, you won’t be able to later transfer your name to a third party without providing the registry with proof that you’ve also transferred the corresponding trademark registration.

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Comments (5)

  1. Scott says:

    No one is gonna want a .tattoo.

    Joe will not want the singular nor the plural.

    How dumb.

  2. tom barrett says:

    This is certainly an innovative service from Uniregistry.

    What is not clear is whether their Sunrise B occurs prior to the start of their general registrations or is parallel to it.

    The Start-up Plan published by ICANN shows general registrations starting 75 days after the start of Sunrise A and does not mention any “additional periods”, such as Sunrise B. (http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/node/17471)

    • John Berryhill says:

      Thanks, Tom. We thought it was something of a no-brainer. The Sunrise rules adopted by ICANN actually forbid Walmart from obtaining wal.mart during a .mart Sunrise.

      Does that make sense to anyone?

  3. John Berryhill says:

    Kevin and Tom…. the launch plan published by ICANN was, unfortunately, not the last version of the plan which ICANN had received and acknowledged. Apparently, the one which they published was an earlier draft, and we expect that the reference to “blocking” registrations and the timeline will be correctly reflected after they return from their holiday break.

    The Sunrise procedures which were ultimately required by ICANN ruled out any additional trademark protections running concurrently with the prescribed Sunrise. This was something of a a consequence of paranoia among elements of the IPC about allowing anything else – including additional trademark eligibility – during the Sunrise. Accordingly, anyone who would qualify for a “dot spanning” registration should apply in the course of the normal sunrise.

    Applicants qualifying for “spanning the dot” treatment can be determined from the strings applied for during the normal sunrise. So, identifying “spanning the dot” qualified sunrise applicants will occur concurrently with “Sunrise A contention resolution”, as it does not require any sort of additional sunrise application.

    The “anti hijack” provisions are there to ensure additional security for Sunrise-registered domain names, such as the common scenario of someone in the IT department, or an outside contractor, running off with the domain name. That type of situation is not well addressed by the UDRP, since such domain registrations are, at least initially, authorized by the trademark owner.

    You are correct, however, that it provides the additional benefit of deterring gaming by speculative domain registrations based on formal trademark registrations not representative of substantial goodwill.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Is it possible for anyone other than the listed trademark owner (eg a contractor or IT guy) to obtain a sunrise registration in the first place?

      Do disgruntled former employees tend to transfer the domains, or do they just take over the registrar account?

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