Just four weeks after the first new gTLDs went into general availability, the Trademark Clearinghouse has already sent out over 17,500 Trademark Claims notices to trademark owners.
A Claims notice is a warning that is generated whenever somebody registers a domain name that exactly matches a trademark listed in the TMCH’s database.
The 17,500 number refers to post-registration notices sent to trademark owners, not pre-registration warnings delivered to would-be registrants.
Considering that there are somewhere in the region of 180,000 domain names in new gTLDs today, 17,500 represents a surprisingly high percentage of the market (high single figures).
Of course, not all of these will be due to cybersquatting attempts.
There are plenty of marks in the TMCH that are acronyms or dictionary words, either because they match a genuine brand or because somebody obtained trademarks on generic terms in order to game sunrise periods.
I’d count those as false positives, personally, but it’s impossible to know without access to TMCH data how many of the 17,500 alerts delivered to date can be accounted for in that way.
There are 26,802 marks in the TMCH, according to the company.
Would-be cybersquatters have pre-registered new gTLD domains matching many famous brands, according to the Trademark Clearinghouse.
According to a bit of TMCH PR fluff coming out tomorrow, there are pre-registrations in .web for 40 out of the 50 most-valuable British brands.
I gather that the data came from 1&1, the most aggressive registrar in its pursuit of new gTLD leads, which has reported over three million pre-regs.
In what appears to be outreach to drum up additional trademark registrations, the TMCH said:
According to the Trademark Clearinghouse’s data, unknown entities have already pre-reserved their interest in registering the domain names of 80 per cent of the UK’s 50 most valuable under the .WEB domain name. Similarly, third parties have attempted to pre-order 78 per cent of the UK’s top 50 most valuable brands under the .ONLINE domain name, 72 per cent under .APP, 70 per cent under .SHOP and 68 per cent under .BLOG.
It doesn’t seem to be a problem peculiar to new gTLDs, however. The TMCH also said that 54% of these brands have holes in their defensive registration portfolio across existing TLDs such as .biz, .net and .co.
There were roughly 23,000 marks in the TMCH database as of January 21.
UPDATE: 1&1 has asked me to clarify that the company took no part in this research. TMCH says it obtained the numbers through searches on the 1&1 web site.
New gTLD registry Dot Latin has scored an early anchor tenant win, as the Trademark Clearinghouse has agreed to use two .uno domain names to market rights protection mechanisms in Spanish-speaking markets.
The TMCH, run by Deloitte and IBM, will use trademark-clearinghouse.uno and tmch.uno. The non-hyphenated version of the longer domain has not been delegated.
Both domains currently redirect to the Spanish-language version of the TMCH’s main .com site.
It’s a nice awareness-raising move for Dot Latin, potentially (depending on how well the TMCH markets it) getting its gTLD’s brand in front of major Spanish trademark-owning eyeballs.
The company signed its ICANN Registry Agreement in mid-September, so its 120-day waiting period before it was allowed to hand out second-level domains is already up.
The .uno sunrise period is due to end February 7.
Registrars representing less than 40% of the gTLD market are ready to offer new gTLDs during their launch phases, according to the latest stats from ICANN.
ICANN released yesterday a list (pdf) of the just 21 registrars that have signed the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement and have been certified by IBM to use the Trademark Clearinghouse database.
Signing the 2013 RAA is a requirement for registrars that want to sell new gTLDs. Almost 150 registrars are currently on the new contract.
But being certified for the TMCH is also a requirement to sell names during the first 90 days of each new gTLD’s general availability, when the Trademark Claims service is running.
Together, the 21 registrars that have done both accounted for 59 million registered gTLD domain names (using August’s official numbers), which translated to 39.5% of the gTLD market.
It’s a high percentage due to the presence of Go Daddy, with its 48.2 million gTLD names. The only other top-10 registrar on the list is 1&1.
Twelve of the 21 registrars on the list had fewer than 40,000 names under management. A couple have fewer than 100.
Only one new gTLD, dotShabaka Registry’s شبكة., is currently in its Trademark Claims period.
The second batch, comprising Donuts’ first seven launches, isn’t due to hit until January 27, giving just a few weeks for the certified list to swell.
There’ll be 33 new gTLD in Claims by the end of February.
The rate at which new registrars are being certified by IBM is not especially encouraging either. Only four have been added in the last month.
Some registrars may of course choose to work via other registrars, as a reseller, rather than getting certified and doing the TMCH integration work themselves.
New gTLD registries will not have to pay any extra fees due to the Trademark Clearinghouse’s extension of the Trademark Claims service, according to the the TMCH.
When the TMCH announced a few days ago that it planned to extend Claims indefinitely — beyond the 90 days required by ICANN contract — a couple of gTLD registries asked me if it would mean more costs for them.
According to the TMCH, the answer is “no”.
The TMCH said in a statement (with my emphasis):
no additional costs will be charged to the registries
The Clearinghouse will create an extra interface that works separately from the existing trademark database interface for the 90 days Claims Notifications (during these 90 days registries have to pay 0.25 USD per registration when there is a successful registration matching a mark in the Clearinghouse). The 90+ interface will charge no such fee when there is an exact match.
The TMCH plans to use other means, such as scraping zone files, to provide the extended service.