Throughout the month of June, more than 270 participants joined INTA's Trademark Administrator (TMA) roundtables in 22 cities across the United States. Entitled “Strategizing…left and right of the dot,” these discussions focused on the evolving issues of Internet expansion and new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs).
Each roundtable host was provided with an agenda from INTA’s Roundtable Project Team to provide a sense of continuity across the many roundtable discussions. On June 9, 2015, a group of local IP attorneys and trademark administrators attended one of these roundtables at INTA’s New York City headquarters. This event was hosted by Milton Springut of Springut Law.
During this session a lively discussion grew around new gTLDs and their impact on brand owners’ rights. Individuals shared how their companies are developing an approach to new gTLDs, including their intention to register domain names. The discussion led to enforcement and cybersquatting as well as what to consider when purchasing gTLDs during sunrise periods. Looking to the right of the dot, the participants discussed placing blocks on gTLDs, country codes and domains.
Attendees shared both positive and negative experiences with new gTLDs. Positive experiences included interactions with the General Motors Green Initiative (generalmotors.green) and Lady Gaga’s Foundation (bornthisway.foundation). These two gTLDs enhanced the brand name by using gTLDs to further clarify the company’s mission. Participants also shared examples of how domain names can provide more clarification to the customer about the brands’ industry, geographic location, etc. (i.e., .fashion or .nyc). However, some concerns were expressed that brands may become associated with negative new gTLDs as well.
Overall, the attendees agreed that there is no clear “one size fits all” strategy for new gTLDs. Companies and firms are still learning how to approach new domains and what the best plan of action might be to protect their brands online. That said, as new gTLDs continue to roll out, it is clear that companies must develop a robust strategy to protect their brand in an ever-growing Internet.
If you’re interested in learning more about new gTLDs and be sure to attend INTA’s Trademark Administrators and Practitioners Meeting (TMAP) in Alicante Spain, October 13-15, 2015.
Roundtable discussions are offered throughout the year. Both INTA members and non-members are invited to participate. If you would like to sign up for an upcoming event, please visit our Roundtables page.