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July 1, 2011 Vol. 66 No. 12 Back to Bulletin Main Page

ICANN Announces Timeline for New gTLD Applications

At its 41st international public meeting, June 19–24 in Singapore, ICANN approved a plan to dramatically increase the number of top-level Internet domain name addresses, known as generic top-level domains (gTLDs), from the current 22, which include gTLDs such as .com, .org and .net. The decision was the culmination of a multiyear process in which ICANN and its community of stakeholders first developed policy and then worked to address several overarching implementation issues, including trademark protection concerns, associated with the organization’s plans to launch new gTLDs.

Following the decision, ICANN published a timeline which reflects its expectation to begin accepting applications for new gTLDs on January 12, 2012, with the application window period closing on April 12, 2012. Following the close of the application window, applications for new gTLDs will be posted publicly on the ICANN website and trademark owners will have the opportunity to object to specific applications that infringe their trademark rights. Absent contention with other gTLDs or the lodging of a successful objection, all applications that meet a set of fundamental technical, financial and operational criteria will be approved for delegation to the Internet’s root system of domain names.

The criteria and other rules are embodied in ICANN’s Applicant Guidebook for new gTLDs. The Applicant Guidebook does not set any limit on the number of applications that will be accepted; ICANN has estimated it expects to receive roughly 500 applications and that there is a maximum limit of 1000 new gTLDs that can be delegated to the Internet’s root system per year. ICANN will allow the use of any language script, such as Arabic, Chinese and Cyrillic, as a gTLD. In conjunction with the approval of the program, ICANN also launched a global communications program that will last several months to raise public awareness of new gTLDs.

INTA will continue to provide information to its members on the new gTLD program as it develops. See the helpful summary in the November 1, 2010 Bulletin article “To TLD or Not to TLD, That Is the Question”. Also, consider attending INTA’s Trademarks and the Internet program in Washington D.C. this September to hear the latest from experts on gTLDs and ICANN. The gTLD Registry Issues Subcommittee of the Association’s Internet Committee will continue to respond to ICANN on the trademark-related aspects of the new gTLD implementation process.

A full array of resources is available on the new gTLD page.

At the conclusion of the meeting in Singapore, the ICANN Board of Directors elected Dr. Steve Crocker, known for his work in developing Internet technical protocols, as chair of the Board. ICANN’s next international public meeting will be in Dakar, Senegal, October 23-28, 2011.

For more information, contact INTA External Relations Manager Claudio Digangi at

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2011 International Trademark Association